A Missouri judge struck down the wording of a Republican-backed ballot measure that would clear the way for a state voter ID requirement, finding it lacking and leaving it to lawmakers to revise. Several legislators wasted no time getting started, saying Thursday they hoped to put the issue to voters this year. The Republican-led Legislature passed a proposed constitutional amendment last year that would allow separate legislation to require a photo ID and to establish an early voting period. Lawmakers wrote their own ballot summary, but Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce struck the summary down earlier this week after concluding the statement was unfair and insufficient. House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller already has filed a new version and said Thursday that he expected lawmakers to move quickly on it. He said he thinks a photo ID requirement would be popular with voters.
“There is a real concern that their ballot is not being protected when they go to vote at the ballot boxes,” said Schoeller, R-Willard. “Overwhelmingly, voters understand that the best way to have their ballot be protected is having their identity be verified by photo ID.” Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, attempted to introduce a new version Thursday but was prevented because the deadline had passed for new measures to be filed in the Senate. He expressed disappointment with the court ruling and said he wants to ensure Missourians are confident elections will be fair. Both Republican lawmakers are running for secretary of state this year.
The proposed ballot question Joyce rejected read: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to adopt the Voter Protection Act and allow the General Assembly to provide by general law for advance voting prior to election day, voter photo identification requirements, and voter requirements based on whether one appears to vote in person or by absentee ballot?” Joyce took particular issue with the summary because the phrase “Voter Protection Act” never actually appears in the constitutional amendment. In addition, Joyce ruled that the Legislature already had authority to enact an early voting period and that the constitutional amendment would put time restrictions on that. “Because significant changes are required here and policy choices may need to be made as to how to reallocate the words in a revised summary statement, the court chooses to vacate the summary statement and to provide the General Assembly an opportunity to revise it,” Joyce wrote in her ruling.
Full Article: Judge strikes down Mo. voter ID ballot summary.