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Missouri judge considers lawsuit against voter ID law

[JURIST] A judge in Missouri heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging a Missouri law [SB 1014 summary; text, PDF] requiring voters to show photo identification [Missouri Dept. Revenue backgrounder] before being permitted to vote. The class-action lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction [JURIST report] against enforcement of the law was filed by Democratic Party officials in July. The bench trial began Monday and the defense plans to argue that the law amounts to an illegal poll tax because it requires citizens who do not have an ID and cannot locate a birth certificate in order to obtain an ID to replace the birth certificate at a cost of $15. The law provides that if a person does not have an ID on election day, they may cast a provisional ballot which will be counted after their identities are confirmed.

Similar laws have been both upheld and struck down in Indiana and Georgia respectively. In April, a federal court in Indiana upheld [JURIST report] a law [text, PDF] requiring voters to present a government-issue photo ID at the polls. A Georgia revision [SB 84 materials] of a voter ID law was again blocked from enforcement [JURIST report] in July. A previous version [text, PDF] of the law was blocked by a federal judge last year [JURIST report] because it discriminated on the basis of the voters' ability to pay for the ID, thereby functioning as a poll tax. AP has more.

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