A Cole County circuit judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Missouri elections law that requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the ballot box.

The court order, signed by Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem, means that voters will have to adhere to the law’s requirements, which include using a government-issued photo ID to vote on Nov. 8. Previously, voters could use alternative options such as school IDs and utility bills to vote.

Those who don’t have a photo ID will have to vote with a provisional ballot when Missourians pick a new U.S. senator and decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

Beetem, in his order, wrote that the lawsuit failed to show that the law’s photo ID requirement would be “unconstitutionally burdensome for every voter in Missouri.” He wrote that the plaintiffs, which included the Missouri NAACP and the Missouri League of Women Voters, lacked standing to bring the suit.

Elijah Haahr, a former Republican state lawmaker and House Speaker, wrote on Twitter Thursday that the ruling was a “massive win” for the Missouri General Assembly and for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

Ashcroft, a Republican who supported the law, was named as a defendant in the suit. His office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU of Missouri and the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, sought to block the voter ID requirements included in Missouri’s sweeping elections law signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson in July. The plaintiffs argued the law was unconstitutional.

The elections law from the GOP-controlled legislature, which went into effect Aug. 28, came after nearly two years of false claims from former President Donald Trump and his supporters about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

On top of the photo ID requirement, the law also prohibits touchscreen voting machines after 2024 and allows Ashcroft’s office to audit voter rolls. It also gets rid of presidential primaries in Missouri — replacing them with a series of caucuses — and gives voters a two-week period to cast absentee ballots without an excuse.

It was a result of a sustained push from Missouri Republicans to enact some form of voter ID requirement. The Supreme Court of Missouri struck down a previous voter ID law in 2020 that would have required people who voted without a photo ID to sign a sworn statement stating they don’t have “a form of personal identification approved for voting.”

Democrats and voting rights advocates have decried the state’s new legislation as an attempt to stifle voting rights. They have argued the voter ID requirements would hurt minorities and seniors who don’t have forms of photo identification.

©2022 The Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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