October 30, 2018
ST. LOUIS — In response to a suit brought by Advancement Project’s national office and the ACLU, the Missouri Court of Appeals court today ruled that the state of Missouri failed to adequately educate voters on the implementation of a photo ID law that went into effect on June 1, 2017 and allowed a suit challenging the law’s implementation to go forward.
The lawsuit, Missouri State Conference of the NAACP et al. v. State of Missouri, filed by Advancement Project’s national office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and ACLU National Voting Rights Project claimed Missouri’s new voter ID law was not accurately implemented causing statewide confusion not only for voters, but poll workers and state election officials due to inefficient outreach. As a result of today’s ruling, the challenge will be heard in court.
“Today’s ruling shows Missouri voters that the Court recognizes that the details of implementation matters,” said Denise Lieberman Co-program Director of Advancement Project’s Power & Democracy program, and counsel on the case. “The details how we carry out these laws matter. The State is responsible for making sure that voters are notified about new voting rules and making sure all eligible voters have access to the ballot. But they haven’t adequately done so because they weren’t given the budget to do so. Quite simply, Missouri has failed to put its money where its mouth is. Because of that, the Court is going to allow this case to go to trial. We look forward to our further day in court.”
The case, brought on behalf of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, Missouri League of Women Voters and Christine Dragonette by the ACLU and Advancement Project, challenged the sufficiency of allocations for Missouri’s Photo ID law. The appeals court found that Missouri failed voters in implementing law, and that the plaintiffs had “adequately pleaded a claim alleging insufficient appropriation” for training poll workers, providing advance notice to voters, providing free voter IDs and underlying documents without cost to voters who needed them.
For more than 10 years, Advancement Project’s national office has led the charge against restrictive voter ID policies in Missouri. Last month, Advancement Project and co-counsel secured a preliminary injunction by a federal judge to remedy Missouri’s failure to update voters’ registrations as required by the National Voter Registration Act. Today’s ruling further chips away at Missouri’s voter ID law, coming on the heels of another ruling last week in which Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan blocked a portion of Missouri’s photo ID law, forbidding local election officials and poll workers from requiring photo ID to vote or requiring voters to sign any legal statements if they provide non-photo ID in next week’s elections.
Advancement Project is coordinating non-partisan Election Protection efforts in Missouri and will be on the ground throughout the state to ensure all voters have a right to vote on Election Day next week. Voters with any questions or who experience problems at the polls should call 1-866-OURVOTE (866-687-8683)
The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Missouri and Christine Dragonette.
Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.