voter ID

MO voter ID update: No need for affidavits

The continuing, confusing saga of voter ID requirements in Missouri continues. On Friday, October 19, at 5 pm, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that voters who do not show a photo ID–but who do show a “secondary” form of non-photo ID, should be allowed to vote a regular ballot, without having to sign an affidavit.

Bottom line: You can vote without photo ID in Missouri’s November 6 midterm election.

Unfortunately, this news comes too late for hundreds of people who have already been trained by county election boards to be pollworkers. [They’re the front-line workers who look at your ID and decide if you’re okay to vote.] Those who have already been trained have been told that voters lacking photo ID will have to sign an affidavit swearing, under penalty of law, that they are who they are and that they do not have a photo ID. Now, that whole procedure has been thrown out. But poll workers may not know about it, and confusion will undoubtedly ensue.

Further complicating the situation is a previous assertion, by Missouri’s Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, that poll workers can still enforce the affidavit rule.

Voting rights advocates are calling for Ashcroft and State Attorney General Josh Hawley to make it clear that election board employees and poll workers are required to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling. [You’d think that would be obvious. But in an era in which the rule of law is under siege, it’s not the slam-dunk that it once was.] There’s also been a suggestion that election boards simply do not send affidavits to polling places, so that there’s no opportunity to require voters to sign them.

It’s going to be a messy Election Day. People who are unjustifiably asked to sign affidavits or who are not allowed to vote can call the Election Protection hotline, 1-866-687-8683, which will be staffed by attorneys and law students trained in election law.