updated 10/16/2006 5:47:21 PM ET 2006-10-16T21:47:21

The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the state's new voter identification law Monday that would have required voters to show a photo ID card at the polls starting this fall.

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A lower judge ruled last month that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote. The state Supreme Court agreed in a 6-1 unsigned opinion.

The new law would have required voters to show a photo identification card issued by Missouri or the federal government before they could cast a ballot. Voters lacking the ID would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot this fall, but after that, only the elderly, disabled and those with religious objections could vote without one, and only by provisional ballot.

The court found the requirement violated several provisions in the state constitution. The justices said requiring otherwise legitimate voters to obtain an appropriate ID imposed too great of a burden on their voting rights.

Opposing viewpoints
Supporters of the ID requirement said it was necessary to prevent voter fraud and increase confidence in the election process.

Opponents argued the ID requirement would disenfranchise the poor, elderly and disabled who may be less likely to have a driver's license.

Provisional ballots are set apart from regular ballots, and election authorities later determine whether they should count by, among other things, checking whether their signatures match those on file and if they're in the right polling place.

Other states' voter identification laws have also been challenged in court this year.

Earlier this month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of Arizona's voter ID law; the state attorney general on Friday petitioned the Supreme Court to allow it to require photo IDs during the election.

In Georgia, a judge in September struck down as unconstitutional the latest version of that state's photo ID requirement. A majority of the elections board members said they disagreed with the ruling, but the board said it wouldn't try to have it overturned before the November election.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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