Closing arguments will be Monday in the lawsuit challenging Missouri’s current voter ID law, after the state presented its final witness Wednesday. Cole County Senior Judge Richard Callahan is being asked to rule on the plaintiffs’ claim that Missouri’s new voter ID law conflicts with existing constitutional language that says people who are properly registered to vote “are entitled” to vote at all elections. The new law went into effect July 1, 2017, after voters in November 2016 added language to the state Constitution saying lawmakers could pass a law specifying the kinds of identification a voter would need to show at the polls before casting a vote.
The state’s expert witness — Jeffrey Milyo, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia — told Callahan he disagreed with the findings of the plaintiffs’ expert witness, who testified Tuesday for nearly four hours.
Milyo said Kenneth Mayer — the University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor who testified Tuesday — “mainly focuses on potential costs from the bill, but doesn’t take into consideration how the bill might reduce costs or increase benefits.”
Mayer said Tuesday that voter ID laws generally cause fewer people to vote — although he acknowledged some studies show the laws increase voter turnout on Election Day.