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Mon Feb 17, 2014, 03:48 PM

Missouri Voters Would Have To Approve Photo IDs Before Details Are Worked Out

Before Missouri legislators can enact any sort of photo ID requirement for voters, they first must get voter approval to change the state constitution.

Until the General Assembly approves a separate resolution to place the amendment before voters, any debate over specifics doesn't matter much.

In fact, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones predicts that the proposed constitutional amendment to allow photo-ID requirements for voters will likely be the only piece of photo ID legislation to pass this year.

“A wise path on this is to pass the constitutional question, for the voters to decide,’’ Jones said in a interview. "And that’s all we should likely do this year.”


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Reply Missouri Voters Would Have To Approve Photo IDs Before Details Are Worked Out (Original post)
Sherman A1 Feb 2014 OP
Gothmog Feb 2014 #1

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Mon Feb 17, 2014, 04:42 PM

1. I am wondering how this state constitutional amendment will get pass the poll tax issue

I hope that voters are able to defeat this constitutional amendment. These laws are poll taxes and the DOJ is trying to block these laws. In Missouri, there was a voter id law that was ruled invalid.

In 2006, the Missouri state supreme court ruled that the Missouri law as a poll tax. Weinschenk v. State, 203 SW 3d 201 - Mo: Supreme Court 2006 http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16462019301480907426

Plaintiffs in this case, on the other hand, offered testimony of specific Missouri voters who will have to incur the costs associated with birth certificates and other documentation to acquire a photo ID and vote. Specifically, Plaintiff Weinschenk will have to pay $12 for her birth certificate; Plaintiff von Glahn, who was asked to pay $11 for his "free" non-driver's license required to vote under the statute, will have to pay another $20 for his birth certificate. Others, like Plaintiff Mullaney, may have to incur more substantial costs for additional documentation because their names have changed since their birth. Additionally, elections officials testified to the substantial number of other otherwise qualified Missouri voters who also must pay a fee in order to vote.

Based on this evidence, the trial court found that this cost was directly connected to Plaintiffs' exercise of the right to vote. The trial court also found that the citizens who currently lack the requisite photo ID are generally "the least equipped to bear the costs." For Missourians who live beneath the poverty line, the $15 they must pay in order to obtain their birth certificates and vote is $15 that they must subtract from their meager ability to feed, shelter, and clothe their families. The exercise of fundamental rights cannot be conditioned upon financial expense. Cf. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 16-19 (1956) (holding that due process and equal protection require that indigent defendants are entitled to pursue appeals without payment of costs). In this case, Plaintiffs proved that these costs must be incurred for citizens who lack the SB 1014 mandated photo IDs to exercise their right to vote.

The poll tax issue is a federal issue and so I am confused as to how a state constitutional amendment will eliminate this issue

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