Lawsuit filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Missouri, Missouri NAACP and two voters against the state of Missouri and Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft (R) challenging the photo ID requirement imposed by Missouri’s recently enacted omnibus voter suppression law, House Bill 1878. The challenged voter ID provision in H.B. 1878 imposes a photo ID requirement for both in-person and in-person absentee voting and repeals previously accepted ID options such as voter registration cards, student IDs or copies of a utility bill or bank statement. Under the new requirement, if voters lack a proper ID (a Missouri or federal photo ID), they can cast a provisional ballot that will only be counted if they return within the same day with a valid ID or if an election official conducts a signature-matching process to compare the voter’s signature on their ballot with the one in their voter registration file. The plaintiffs assert that this requirement disproportionately harms voters from populations who face “significant barriers” to acquiring a photo ID, including “racial minorities, people living in poverty, rural Missourians, students, senior citizens, Missourians with disabilities, Missourians returning from incarceration, [and] unhoused Missourians.”
In their complaint, the plaintiffs argue that the new law’s restrictions violate several provisions of the Missouri Constitution including the guarantee of free and open elections, the right to vote and equal protection and assert that “there is no compelling state interest that justifies the burdens upon the fundamental right to vote imposed by the Voter ID Restrictions.” The plaintiffs request that the court declare the photo ID provision unconstitutional and to block defendants from enforcing the challenged restrictions. Notably, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the General Assembly’s previous two attempts to impose strict ID requirements for failing to comply with the Missouri Constitution.
On Oct. 12, 2022, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their claims. On Nov. 4, 2022, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. Litigation is ongoing and trial is set for November 2023.