Suit challenges Missouri voter photo ID -

Suit challenges Missouri voter photo ID




JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Opponents of a voter photo identification requirement have filed a lawsuit seeking to strike a proposed constitutional amendment from Missouri's 2012 ballot, contending that the wording of the summary that voters would see is misleading.

Rather than protect voters, as the legislatively approved ballot title states, the measure actually would restrict the constitutionally granted right to vote in elections, Denise Lieberman, an attorney for a group backing the lawsuit, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday and assigned Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce, online court records show.

The Republican-led Legislature earlier this year passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a photo ID mandate and set parameters for a potential early voting period. If voters adopt the amendment, a separate law still would be needed to implement the provisions.

The proposed amendment seeks to get around a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling that declared a previous photo ID law unconstitutional.

This year, the ballot title approved by legislators asks voters: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to adopt the Voter Protection Act and allow the General Assembly to provide by general law for advance voting prior to election day, voter photo identification requirements, and voter requirements based on whether one appears to vote in person or by absentee ballot?"

Lieberman, a senior attorney for the Advancement Project in St. Louis, a voting rights group, contends that the summary is misleading because the text of the proposed amendment never actually refers to it as the "Voter Protection Act." She said the proposal restricts the type of early voting laws that the Legislature could enact, and she contends that the summary should note that it is overturning a prior Supreme Court decision or curtailing the voting rights currently included in the state constitution.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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