Friday, July 8, 2011

Lawsuit filed against Missouri voter ID initiative

ST. LOUIS, MO (ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO) - A voter ID ballot initiative certified for the November 2012 ballot has sparked a lawsuit from several civil rights groups.

The measure passed the Missouri General Assembly this session and is scheduled to go before voters in November 2012.

It would ask voters to amend the state Constitution and allow lawmakers to enact early voting laws and photo ID requirements.

Denise Lieberman with the Advancement Project, one of the groups bringing the suit, says the summary language does not make that clear.

"While the legislature claims that this measure stands to protect voters, it does just the opposite, it in fact weakens the constitutional protection that’s afforded to the right to vote that’s in our constitution and never advises the voter of that," Lieberman says.

But Senator Bill Stouffer who sponsored the legislation, disagrees.

"It allows voters to decide whether the Missouri legislature can set the guidelines for early voting and photo ID in order to vote. And it’s simple and straightforward in my mind," Stouffer said.

Stouffer, a Republican, says photo IDs are required in many situations like getting on a plane or reserving a hotel room.

The Advancement Project argues it will disenfranchise many voters.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio


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