Jefferson City, Mo. — Advancement Project’s National Office and The American Civil Liberties Union today sued Missouri over the state’s new photo ID law.
The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri. The groups are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the law from being in effect during a local special election on July 11. In-person absentee voting for this election begins this Monday, June 12. An additional 52 Missouri counties go to the polls on August 8.
The request was made in part because Missouri’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, has admitted the state would be unable to implement the requirements of restrictive photo ID law in time for this election and the state has yet to allocate funds to the Secretary to implement the law.
“Missouri’s restrictive photo ID law was designed to make it harder for people to vote,” said Denise Lieberman, Co-Director of Power and Democracy at Advancement Project’s national office, and coordinator of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. “It is a gimmick that – as we’ve seen in other states – inevitably leads to blocking people from the ballot, especially people of color, young voters, seniors, women, and people with disabilities. This suppressive effect is magnified once the state fails to hold its end of the bargain. It is beyond unacceptable that the state of Missouri has launched a photo ID requirement while not sufficiently preparing, educating voters, or funding it. As a result, the burden is now falling on the backs of voters.”
“Voters were promised that this law was not about disenfranchising the most vulnerable in our state,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “The state’s lack of funding and implementation of this law tells another story.”
“States are not allowed to make an end run around voting rights by forcing burdensome changes to election law and then failing to provide the required funding for proper implementation,” said Sophia Lakin, an attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.
Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are among the states that have already been reprimanded by the courts for disastrous implementation of their voter ID laws and inadequate, confusing voter education.
The case, Missouri NAACP v. Missouri, was filed in Cole County Circuit Court.
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.