Judge Rules Against Missouri Voter ID Proposal

On Tuesday Cole County Circuit Court Judge Patricia S. Joyce ruled against  language proposed to amend Missouri’s constitution to require photo identification to vote.

The ruling came thanks to a a legal challenge brought by the Advancement Project, Fair Elections Legal Network, American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri on behalf of nine Missourians that the ballot language to a proposal to amend the state constitution’s voting requirements is misleading and invalidated the proposed amendment.

“We are pleased that the court sent a strong statement that respects the voters of Missouri,” said Ben Hovland, Senior Counsel of the Fair Elections Legal Network. “Missourians deserve to know what they are being asked to vote on, particularly when a fundamental right, like the right to vote, is at stake.”

The lawsuit, filed in July 2011, is the first-ever challenge to a constitutional amendment on photo ID laws. The lawsuit could pave the way for a challenge to a similar law passed in Minnesota.

The proposed ballot title for Missouri’s so-called “Voter Protection Act” was found  to be misleading in that it “fails in several respects to accurately inform citizens as to the subject matter on which they are asked to vote, and significant revisions would be required to correct the statement.”

“The judge was absolutely right to reject this deceptive initiative,” remarked Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis.  “It failed to make clear to voters that they were being asked to give up a fundamental right.  There is nothing ‘protective’ about placing restrictions on the fundamental right of citizens to participate in the democratic process.”

The ballot initiative in question, SJR2, was slated to be placed on the ballot for November 2012. It would have allowed the legislature to pass legislation requiring voters to present a photo ID to vote. It was passed by the legislature in May, 2011 in an attempt to circumvent the Missouri Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling that restrictive photo ID voting laws are unconstitutional and could impact as many as 230,000 Missourians.

“Allowing those qualified to vote is essential to our democracy,” said Tony Rothert, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri. “By trying to restrict this fundamental right, the General Assembly would make citizens jump through hoops to make their voices heard.  Unnecessary restrictions affect real voters and should be rejected.”

This initiative is part of a recent trend of legislation introduced by conservative legislatures to restrict registration and voting. These laws will prevent millions of Americans – mostly seniors, minorities, working poor, people with disabilities, and students – from voting because they lack acceptable ID. So far courts have been the last defenders of the right to vote, though several challenges to Voter ID and other restrictions are pending in federal courts including one likely review by the Supreme Court.

Related Stories:

Minnesota Close To Passing Country’s Most Restrictive Voter ID Law

Texas Serves Up Voting Rights Challenge To SCOTUS

Photo from richiec via flickr.


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason5 years ago

Steve R.
You will never know what you are really missing!

Laura C.
Laura C.5 years ago

really people this is ridiculous and this bs is completely against my rights and others under our constitution, how dare they decide who can and cannot vote because of some f id requirement!!! i was born and raised here and my right to vote is guaranteed who the hell thinks they have the right to take away my voting rights in this country weather my name has changed due to marriage or divorce and the same goes with where i live! I do have a drivers license but that still does not make what they are purposing right ! if your an american citizen then you have a right to vote regardless!

Ahron E.
Ahron E5 years ago

College students should use the same agruments to not get carded at bars. Drivers should use the same agruments to not have to show id to the police if pulled over. There are some many places in our society you your have to show id. Why should voting be different. There is only one reason it is so people who aren't permitted to vote can vote and the liberals think those illegale voters will vote for their causes.

Neil A.
Neil A5 years ago

Thank the Judges who believe bin democratic rights.

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago


Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to vote due to them putting in ridiculous regulations. PLEASE CHECK with the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW so that you can have the right documents when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your family and friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now we have a population of 8 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE REME

James K.
Mike Kelly5 years ago

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. If republics cannot require IDs to stop Democrats from voting, they'll have to resort to their nuclear option: Count the republicker's votes first, and then have the Supreme republican Court of the United States (SCROTUS) stop the vote count while they are ahead, like they did in Florida in 2000.

The votes of the People of the United States of America elected Al Gore as President in 2000. Our votes were usurped by five, old men in robes. In writing for the majority in Gore v. Bush, justice Antonin Scalia said: "continuing the recount would cause irreparable harm to George W. Bush."

So SCROTUS anointed W as king. Multiple private recounts of the votes in Florida have shown that Al Gore won, regardless of hanging chads, missing chads, imaginary chads etc. Our President is elected by the democratic vote of the People, unless 5 men in robes say otherwise. SCROTUS has given itself the power to elect our president, and recently has granted personhood and citizenship to multinational and foreign-national corporations.

Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas make up the cadre of traitors. These five often speak highly of the Founders of our country. Our Founders would have had the five of them tried by their peers in a court of law, and summarily hung from the gallows, for the crimes of treachery and sedition, upon conviction.

James K.
Mike Kelly5 years ago

Bummer for the GOP.

Now they'll have to go back to their old standbys: rigging voting machines, losing votes, throwing voters from Democratic neighborhoods off the roster of eligible voters, cutting the number of voting machines in Democratic neighborhoods, intimidating voters, robo calls telling the voters that the polling place has been changed, cutting the number of days and hours to vote etc.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

Hopefully all the courts will stand with voters against these laws that take our right to vote away. I fear that once again the Republican Party is over reaching and that is truely a sign of fear.