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Issue: 900 Date: 11/22/2007

Secretary Carnahan, Four Other Secretaries Weigh in On Indiana Photo ID Case
Evidence shows that fair elections can be ensured without disenfranchising elderly, disabled and poor voters

        Jefferson city, Missouri - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, along with four other Secretaries of State, filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court on the Indiana photo ID case on Tuesday.

        Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz, former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox and former Maryland Secretary of State John T. Willis joined Carnahan in filing a brief with the court to provide facts from their respective states that show that fair elections can be ensured without jeopardizing citizens' right to vote. Because the ramifications of the Indiana photo ID case decision could affect voters beyond those in just Indiana, the secretaries wanted to make sure that the Court is aware of facts in other states.

        The brief includes statistics on who - mostly elderly, disabled, poor, and minority voters - and how many registered voters would be affected in other states by restrictive voter ID laws like Indiana's. In addition, the brief filed by Carnahan and the four other secretaries points to statistics and facts from each state that there is no evidence of voter impersonation fraud, or an individual attempting to vote at a polling place in the name of another person, the purported reason behind the photo ID law. In fact, in the 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 elections in Missouri there were no cases of voter impersonation fraud.

        The full brief may be accessed here:

        "It is my job to protect the rights of all Missouri voters and ensure fair elections," Carnahan said. "Elections cannot be fair if eligible voters are prevented from voting, so I hope that the Supreme Court will reaffirm that the fundamental right to vote should not be unnecessarily burdened to remedy an essentially non-existent problem."

        In 2006, SB 1014, which would have required Missourians to provide a government-issued photo ID in order to vote, was enacted. On October 16, 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a circuit court decision which said the law was unconstitutional because as many as 240,000 registered voters in Missouri would have to spend money and navigate bureaucratic hurdles to obtain documents necessary to get a photo ID. The courts went on to state that there was no compelling state interest for the restrictive law and that it was a burden on the constitutional right of suffrage.

        Like SB 1014, Indiana public-law 109-2005 was enacted in 2005 and its constitutionality was challenged in court. The law was initially upheld by a federal judge and by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the case.

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