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Missouri judge blocks parts of voter ID law

A Missouri judge has blocked election officials from enforcing parts of a voter photo identification law.

Senior Cole County Judge Richard Callahan ruled Tuesday that voters without a photo ID will no longer have to sign a sworn statement in order to cast a regular ballot.

The ruling also prevents the state from advertising that a photo ID is required to vote.

Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks said the ruling will make it easier for people to vote.

“Voters no longer have to take the additional step and sign a sworn statement saying they don’t have a photo ID,” Burks told ABC 17 News.

His opponent, Brianna Lennon, said the ruling will help clear up confusion.

“I think it can be a really good thing for people that come out and vote and may be confused about what kind of ID. This should help get more people out to the polls,” she said.

The permanent injunction against portions of the 2016 law comes before the much anticipated Nov. 6 election which will see Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger, Attorney General Josh Hawley vie for a Senate seat.

In a statement, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said his office plans to appeal the ruling.

“Although our office does not agree with all of the judge’s findings, we’re pleased the court found that the voter ID law is constitutional, and the judge did not find anyone was prevented from voting. We plan to seek a stay and appeal the decision to a higher court, which we believe will overturn the judge’s errors.”

The plaintiffs in the case, Priorities USA, called the ruling a victory for voting rights.

“Today’s ruling, preventing the state of Missouri from imposing additional burdens on voters who lack photo ID, is an important victory for voting rights that will ensure that future elections in the state are open and accessible to every eligible voter. With this injunction in place, hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in Missouri who do not possess photo ID–and who could have otherwise been disenfranchised due to the law’s highly confusing and burdensome requirements–will once again be able to cast their ballots free from unnecessary obstacles. Voting is our most fundamental right, and Priorities USA is proud to have joined with the other plaintiffs in this case to ensure that access to the ballot box remains protected for all individuals in Missouri who hope to have a voice in the democratic process.”

Burks said his office will continue to follow Missouri law.

“We’ll lead the election the way that we’re supposed to under Missouri law, the way we’ve always done in Boone County, and hope that there are not any last minute changes prior to Election Day.”

The deadline to register to vote for the November election is 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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