Whether you will have to have photo identification to vote this November remains a question before the courts. A day-long hearing in the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City failed to reach a resolution to the legal challenge of the Voter Photo ID law. It’s a two-track challenge; one, that it violates the Hancock Amendment by mandating changes for local election authorities without providing the money to cover the costs and two, that it will disenfranchise those who don’t have picture IDs. Lawyer Burton Newman wants the law ruled unconstitutional and says the hearing gave him a chance to provide the evidence needed to do that. Newman hopes to build his case on testimony from local election authorities in Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia, who all testify that the new law will cause them to spend tens of thousands of dollars they otherwise would not have to spend. The hearing combined the arguments of the second lawsuit, which claims the law will disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and the disabled who might have trouble getting photo identification.Lawyers from the Attorney General’s office contend the arguments have no merit. They point out the state promises free ID cards to anyone who doesn’t have a driver’s license, passport or other suitable ID. They also say the extra costs associated with the law have been exaggerated by local election authorities and add up to nothing more than the normal added costs that any change of law requires. Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan, who is hearing the case, has scheduled a second hearing for September 7th. All sides expect the case to eventually be decided by the State Supreme Court.
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