Plaintiff in Missouri voter ID trial presents witness and expert testimony

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JEFFERSON CITY - The plaintiff in the Missouri voter ID case presented a witness and expert Tuesday who said the current voter laws in the state are confusing and prohibit voters from getting to the polls.

In Priorities USA v Missouri, the plaintiff is suing the state of Missouri over the current voter identification requirements. The current voter ID requirements are Missouri issued drivers license, a state issued ID card, U.S. Passport or Military ID. If someone does not have these they can present a second form such as a paycheck or bank statement and sign a statement confirming their identity.

David King, an active community member in the St. Louis area, has been helping bring people to the polls to vote for the last eight years. When he was on the stand, he recalled issues that he had at the polls with his voter identification.

King said he presented his voter card, but did not have a photo ID at the time, so he could not cast his vote until he came back with a valid photo ID.

King said his photo identification should not have held him back from being able to vote when he presented a valid voter identification card.

“This is my right to vote,” King said as he held up his voter card in court.

The expert called was Dr. Kenneth Mayer, a political science professor from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, who has expertise in voter turn out. He said Missouri's voter ID laws can keep minorities and lower income voters from being able to cast a ballot. 

“This will reduce turn out,” said Mayer. “Especially in minorities and poorer populations.”

Mayer also said the current requirements for a valid photo identification card can be confusing. He said people might not get out to the polls because they do not know if they have the proper requirements for voting.

“Administrative practices can cause hurdles.” Mayer said.

When the defense asked if presenting a valid photo ID is could be considered “deadweight,” Mayer said “not necessarily.”

The trial is set to finish Tuesday or Wednesday.