Monthly Archives: April 2020
Voter Protection Lawsuit
LWVMO Joins in Lawsuit to Protect Missouri Voters
To protect the right to vote in 2020, the League of Women Voters of Missouri has joined the NAACP and several individual voters in filing a lawsuit in Cole County Friday that seeks a declaratory judgment that physical distancing and fear of contracting COVID-19 are valid reasons to request an absentee ballot in Missouri. The suit also seeks injunctive relief preventing local election officials from
refusing such ballots or requiring them to be notarized.
“Missouri must expand and protect access to the ballot in these unprecedented times,” says LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox. “We want any Missouri voter who is social distancing in compliance with CDC guidelines to be able to request an absentee ballot in 2020 and return it without a notary seal.”
“Inconsistencies between voting jurisdictions violate the equal protection clause,” says Denise Lieberman, General Counsel for the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. “Fear of contracting the coronavirus should be a valid reason to request an absentee ballot. Since election authorities can verify voter signatures, they should be told to accept all ballots without a notary seal this year. Absentee voting either by mail or in person will reduce the crowds at polling places and make them safer for other voters in 2020 elections.”
The state has a new electronic notary system, but the Secretary of State’s office indicates that it won’t work for absentee ballots. Here is a link to the LWVMO Press Release.
Recommendations to Ensure Voting in Missouri amid the Corona-19 Crisis
As part of Missouri’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, the state legislature should vote this week to use up to $20 million in federal funding to prepare for a significant increase in early voting.
The League of Women Voters is part of a coalition calling on Governor Mike Parson and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to make several policy changes to advance voting in the June 2 municipal election, the Aug. 4 primary and the Nov. election.
Here is what the statewide coalition is asking for—
1. Expanded voting by mail
2. Expanded in-person absentee voting options.
3. Expanded voter registration particularly online.
4. Polling place modifications to ensure public safety and to protect voter accessibility.
5. Robust voter education.