Arguments over, decision coming in voter ID trial

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JEFFERSON CITY - Closing arguments in the Priorities USA v. Missouri trial happened Monday in front of Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan, but a decision isn't expected for at least a week.

Priorities USA, the group fighting Missouri's voter ID law, made their final case to change the law before the November elections.

"It's incompatible with the Constitution and what it stands for," Priorities USA attorney Uzoma Nkwonta said in court.

Nkwonta said the people of Missouri should be deeply concerned by the state's authority to pass this law because it's against everyone's fundamental right to vote.

"An unnecessary burden is being placed on potential voters. This causes people to stay home instead of going to the polls," Nkwonta said.

The state said there isn't enough mass evidence to prove the law has any affect on voter turnout.

"We may be a few elections away from whether it's true or not," said Ryan Bangert, a lawyer for the state's defense. 

A document from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's office was presented in court. It estimated that as many as 280,000 Missouri voters don't have proper photo identification stated under the law. 

The current voter ID law requires a valid drivers license, a state issued ID card, U.S. Passport or Military ID.

Judge Callahan told both sides the law is still in its infant stages and it would take a much longer period to point out any major problems.

"I believe it does have some affect on voter turnout, but that's something we don't truly know yet," Judge Callahan said.

Attorneys said they expect Callahan to make a decision sometime next week.

(Editor's note: KOMU.com has updated this story to correct the name of the presiding judge.)

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