A second day of arguments in a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s photo voter ID law took place Tuesday at the Cole County Court House in Jefferson City. The parties bringing the litigation are Priorities USA, a national progressive organization that promotes voting rights, and 71-one-year-old Mildred Gutierrez, a Lee’s Summit resident. Gutierrez was allowed to vote in the November 2017 election only after signing a sworn statement under penalty of perjury because she did not have a valid photo ID. University of Wisconsin Political Scientist Kenneth Mayer offered expert testimony for Priorities USA. He called the sworn statement, also known as an affidavit, that Gutierrez had to sign in order to cast a ballot completely incomprehensible.
“There is no possible way that this is a readable, comprehensible document that accurately informs people of what they’re actually signing,” said Mayor. He called the statement technical and contradictory, noting that someone signing the document is simultaneously swearing that they don’t have a form of ID, and that they understand that they have to have a form of ID in order to vote, all under the threat of perjury and criminal prosecution.
Under Missouri’s law passed in 2016 by the Republican led state legislature, voters can cast a normal ballot without a valid photo ID if they sign the statement and present another form of acceptable identification such as a voter registration card, utility bill or bank statement. They are then informed that they are not be permitted to vote in future elections unless they present a photo ID.