A key part of Missouri's new and strict voter identification law has been struck down by the state's highest court.
The decision has potential nationwide importance. That's because the provision at issue, which allows people without photo IDs to cast ballots only after signing sworn statements, is similar to laws recently enacted in several other states.
Those have been labeled by critics, mostly Democrats, as thinly veiled voter suppression efforts, because poor, elderly, disabled and minority voters are less likely to have photo IDs or be agreeable to signing affidavits. But proponents, mainly Republicans, label such rules an appropriate guardrail against fraud.
While most anxiety about administering the 2020 election is focused on potential hackers, officials at a conference Tuesday brought up another growing concern: huge turnout, with perhaps a record-breaking number of voters overwhelming the nation's polling sites.
Tammy Patrick, who studied the long lines for voting in 2012 on a commission named by President Barack Obama, pointed to a CNN poll last fall in which nearly half of voters said they were "extremely excited" about voting this November. That total was the highest by far for a presidential election since the network began asking the question in 2003.
If millions more than are expected cast ballots ahead of time and millions more pour into the nation's school cafeterias and firehouses on Nov. 3 — and the voting equipment and poll workers are insufficient to handle the crowds — the reliability of the presidential and other elections could be cast in doubt by waves of angry people who give up, potentially delayed tabulations and suspicions about reporting accuracy.
Republican lawmakers in Nebraska want to require all voters to show valid identification before accessing the ballot box.
The legislation, introduced last week, would amend the state's Constitution to require poll workers to review photo IDs to verify each person's identity before allowing them to vote. If passed by the Republican-controlled, unicameral Legislature, the provision would then be posed to voters on the ballot this November.
The lawmakers behind the bill say it will protect Nebraska against potential voter fraud, preserve each citizen's right to vote, modernize the state's election infrastructure and ensure the integrity of elections. Seven other states have strict photo ID laws like the one being considered in Nebraska.
Citizens would be automatically registered to vote, or they could register online or on Election Day, under a comprehensive voting rights proposal unveiled Friday by Mike Bloomberg.
He is the last of the prominent Democratic candidates for president to detail an agenda for making the democratic process work better. The plan was unveiled as Bloomberg took his campaign to Georgia for an appearance with Stacey Abrams, one of the most prominent civil rights advocates in the country.
"The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all others, but in states around the country it is under attack," Bloomberg said in a statement released by his campaign.