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Judge clarifies voter ID ruling extends to local election authorities

Judge clarifies voter ID ruling extends to local election authorities

October 23rd, 2018 by Bob Watson in Missouri News

Judge Richard Callahan asks a question as attorneys representing their respective sides in the case of Missouri's voter photo ID law present arguments Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in a Cole County courtroom.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Cole County Senior Judge Richard Callahan on Tuesday modified his Oct. 9 ruling in the voter ID lawsuit, making it clear his original order applies to all local election officials as well as to the secretary of state's office.

The revised order was issued in the case brought by the Washington, D.C.-based Priorities USA against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and the state of Missouri, challenging the implementation of the new voter ID law that went into effect June 1, 2017.

Callahan ruled Oct. 9 that most of the new law was within the Legislature's powers to implement — but that the sworn statement required of voters who didn't present a voter ID with a photograph went too far.

Last Friday, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the state's request to block Callahan's injunction against using the statement.

But Ashcroft and Attorney General Josh Hawley's office had argued in their request for that stay: "The lower court enjoined the wrong party. Missouri elections are conducted by the 116 local election authorities (LEAs.)  In sum the LEAs who are not parties to this suit may be confused about whether they bound by this Court's injunction against the Secretary of State."

Callahan's revised order agreed, saying the injunction applies to "the Defendants and all other persons acting in concert with Defendants in administering and certifying elections within the State of Missouri, including local election authorities, are permanently enjoined from requiring voters otherwise qualified to cast a regular ballot to execute the sworn statement set out in (state law) in order to cast a ballot."

Callahan's injunction also applies to state and local election officials, preventing them "from disseminating materials with the graphic that voters will be asked to show a photo identification card without specifying other forms of identification which voters may also show."