JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday challenging Missouri’s newly enforced photo ID law for elections.
The lawsuit, filed by the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, targeted a sweeping election law enacted in August that primarily requires voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls to cast a regular ballot.
Because the lawsuit was dismissed, Missouri’s new photo ID law will remain in place for the upcoming Nov. 8 election.
Under the law, voters must show a Missouri driver or non-driver license, a military ID, a U.S. passport or another U.S. or state-issued photo ID.
People without a government-issued photo ID can cast a provisional ballot that will be counted only if they return later that day with a photo ID or if election officials verify their signatures with voter registration records.
Under previous law, Missourians could vote using documents like utility bills or bank statements.
The new election law also prevents groups and individuals from soliciting voters to request absentee ballots. Violations are punishable by up to five years imprisonment, the loss of the right to vote, and fines up to $250,000.
Plaintiffs with the Missouri NAACP argued the legislation infringes on their freedom of speech and their ability to engage with voters.
But opponents argued the concern that some voters won’t be able to obtain proper identification in order to cast regular ballots was speculation, and election officials rarely decline to verify voter signatures on provisional ballots.
Seventeen other states, including Kansas, already have voter photo ID laws in effect as of this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Nineteen states have voter ID laws that accept proof other than a photo. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia do not require any documentation to vote on election day.