Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren is a force of nature. Noren, the countywide elected official who oversees elections in Columbia and its suburbs, is a fierce proponent for her constituents.
Most recently, Noren says that she is considering a legal challenge to the new state law requiring most voters to show Missouri-issued photo IDs at the polls. She notes that the new law imposes costs on government that were not funded by the legislature, and she argues that the law’s requirements could keep eligible voters from casting ballots.
Boone County, the site of the University of Missouri, has large numbers of both seniors and college-age voters. Noren worries that seniors, particularly older women whose names have changed through re-marriage and home-bound seniors on limited incomes, will have a difficult (and expensive) time documenting the history of their last names.
And, college students, who are already not a particularly persistent voting population anyway, may be even more inclined to avoid Election Day because of the new ID strictures.
Noren told her local newspaper that the sorts of voter fraud her office most often sees — voter intimidation, vote-buying, and problems with absentee ballots — are not even addressed by the new law. The new law she said “is not about real fraud issues. This is about keeping certain classes of people from voting or making it more difficult for them to vote.”
St. Louis, like Boone County, has large numbers of young and old voters. The City, unlike Boone County, has no direct control over its elections.