Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wants the Legislature to fight a Supreme Court ruling this week about the state’s voter ID law. Missouri’s high court has ruled that language used in a sworn statement is misleading and unconstitutional. Voters without an ID at the polls were required to sign the statement to confirm to their identity.
“I think that we are going to have to ask the Legislature to move forward on this,” says Ashcroft. “It looks to me like the Supreme Court is setting up a confrontation between the Supreme Court on one side, the Legislature, the Executive branch, and the Constitution as approved by the people on the other hand. And that really concerns me.”
In 2016, voters passed a constitutional amendment, Amendment 6, by a 63% margin which allowed the state to make a law requiring voters to identify themselves with IDs that “may” include valid government-issued photo identification.
“It is no longer unconstitutional in the state of Missouri to present photo ID to vote and yet our court is saying that it is,” says Ashcroft. “Anytime we have a government entity that ignores the will of the people properly expressed through the Constitution of the state, we have a problem. The role of the judiciary is not to say what the law should be. If you’re a judge and you want to spend your time saying what the law should be, run for the Legislature.”
Voter advocacy organization Priorities USA sued the state and said expert testimony in the trial has confirmed that voters would need a graduate level degree to understand the statement language.
The 5-2 judgement also bars the Secretary of State’s office from distributing information saying a photo ID is required to vote. Judges Brent Powell and Zel Fischer were the dissenting votes.
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