Missouri’s Supreme Court Says ACLU's Voting Rights Lawsuit Can Proceed



Earlier this month it was announced that Missouri residents could vote by mail (with one stipulation) for the August and November elections this year.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed the senate bill that allowed Missouri residents to avoid contact with the deadly coronavirus, but voters who did not fit into one of the Centers for Disease Control’s list of at-risk categories would still need to have their ballots notarized if they wanted to mail in their vote.

But finding and using a notary can be cost prohibitive and difficult to arrange (especially during a pandemic), so the American Civil Liberties Union took the issue to the Missouri Supreme Court. The ACLU argued that voters should not have to put their health at risk to satisfy the notary requirement to vote.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU and Missouri voting rights, writing this:

“Petitioners’ claims plainly meet the pleading requirements for any declaratory judgment cause of action and the largely similar requirements for actions seeking injunctive relief. The petitioners present a real, substantial, and presently existing controversy regarding the interpretation of Missouri’s absentee voting statute. The petitioners seek to protect their right to vote guaranteed by the Missouri Constitution, and, given the upcoming August and November elections, their claims are ripe for judicial determination.”

“This decision is a big victory for Missouri voters,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, “The court ruled that our lawsuit to make sure all eligible voters can vote by mail without a notary during COVID-19 can continue.”

To register to vote in Missouri or to check your registration, visit Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft’s website. And for more information on accessible, absentee and mail-in voting, click the “Accessible Voting” tab on the left of the page.

Email the author at jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com
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