State Auditor Tom Schweich’s surprisingly hefty estimate of the annual government cost of Missouri’s proposed photo ID requirement for voters has some Republican legislative leaders now fearing that the proposal could be a tougher sell when it hits ballots in 2012.
A spokeswoman for state Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said he even briefly considered filing suit by today’s 5 p.m. deadline in a last-ditch attempt to get the estimate changed.
Mayer (right) has dropped the idea of filing suit himself. But his spokeswoman notes that any Missouri resident can go to court to challenge the cost estimate — ranging from $3 million to $6.5 million a year.
Mayer is particularly disturbed, the spokeswoman said, because the cost estimate is based on the details laid out in the companion implementation bill, Senate Bill 3, that Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed June 17.
A revised implementation measure may have a lower cost, said Farrah Fite, spokeswoman for Mayer and the Senate’s Republican caucus. “We just want to make sure that the information voters have is accurate,” she said.
Fite acknowledged that the cost estimate — officially called a “fiscal note” — might turn off some voters.
Meanwhile, a coalition of voting-rights groups announced today that it has filed suit in hopes of getting the entire proposal tossed off the 2012 ballot. The groups contend in a statement that the measure is “an attempt to circumvent the Missouri Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling that restrictive photo ID voting laws are unconstitutional.”
The suit was filed in Cole County on Wednesday, the coalition said. The plaintiffs include eight current Missouri voters, some elderly or disabled, who say they would face challenges in obtaining the documents needed to acquire the government-issued photo ID that would be required should the proposed constitutional amendment become law.