Missouri: Judge dismisses suit over Missouri’s voter ID law | Associated Press

A lawsuit alleging that Missouri’s new voter identification law was intended to make it harder for poor and minority residents to cast their ballots has been dismissed. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem on Tuesday threw out the suit filed in June by the ACLU and the Advancement Project on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters. Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a November 2016 ballot measure instituting voter ID. The law became effective June 1.

Missouri: Postmaster General asked to correct addresses of Missouri residents with Iowa mailing addresses | KTTN

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has written a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan asking the postal service to correct addresses of Missouri residents with Iowa mailing addresses. Senator McCaskill mentioned Clark County commissioners and residents of Clark County formally have requested the postal service make the address changes. In addition, the Senator noted residents of the Missouri counties of Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, and Atchison also are affected. McCaskill urged the Postmaster General to proactively work with all of those counties to correct the issue as soon as possible. The Senator quoted Clark County Commissioner Buddy Kattelmann as saying the problem has existed for at least 30 years. She said the presiding commissioner claims no one has provided a definitive answer as to why Missouri residents in Clark County have Iowa addresses.

Missouri: Mailing Quirk Has Missouri Residents With Iowa Addresses | Associated Press

For decades, an idiosyncrasy in the mail delivery system has forced some rural northern Missouri residents to have Iowa mailing addresses, which has created roadblocks and red tape for residents when they vote or pay taxes — even when they die. Local officials have been asking for help for years from local politicians and postal officials to no avail. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill recently learned about the quirk, calling it “one of the dumbest things I’ve come across.” McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, sent a letter this week to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, asking that the U.S. Postal Service “take immediate action” on behalf of Missouri residents who have Iowa mailing addresses. Brennan’s spokesman David Partenheimer said in a statement this week that his agency is “working with the senator to address this issue and will respond directly to her office.” He declined further comment.

Missouri: Boone County’s aging election equipment comes with estimated $1 million replacement price tag | Columbia Daily Tribune

Boone County’s aging voting equipment will need to be replaced in the next couple of years, and the estimated $1 million expense — once covered in the past by the federal government — solely will be the county’s responsibility. The Help America Vote Act of 2002, which reformed the U.S. voting process, awarded Boone County $888,700 more than a decade ago to purchase new equipment, including software, ballot counting equipment known as M100 machines and iVote machines, or the touchscreen ballots accessible through the American Disabilities Act.
The county’s voting equipment, which has a 10-year lifespan, has experienced an increasing number of errors in recent years and needs to be replaced, said Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks. Burks, appointed to the position in late July by Gov. Eric Greitens, said his office did not have enough time to meet the 2018 budget request deadline on Sept. 30 to find funding for replacement equipment next year. But he expects to have a plan for 2019.

Missouri: Secretary of State seeking dismissal of voter ID lawsuit | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law. In a statement, Ashcroft said the certified results of the Aug. 8 special elections in two legislative districts showed that “Missouri’s photo voter ID law works.” The law took effect June 1. Days later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Advancement Project filed a lawsuit in Cole County on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters. 

Missouri: Opponents of voter ID law seek favorable results in upcoming hearing | MissouriNet

A lawsuit led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Missouri’s new photo voter ID law will have a hearing in September. The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, claims the state hasn’t adequately provided education, poll worker training or funding for ID’s the law calls for.  Daniela Velazquez with the ACLU of Missouri says that voters’ right are under threat. “This lawsuit is really about ‘Can Missouri really implement this law that they said they were going to do without putting the voters of Missouri at risk for being able to vote” said Velazquez. When the lawsuit was filed in the second week of June, the ACLU had hoped a judge would issue a temporary restraining order to block the law before two local special elections took place – one in southern Missouri’s New Madrid, and the other in St. Louis city.  The judge declined to do so.

Missouri: Voter ID opponents say law has echoes of Jim Crow, lynchings | Springfield News-Leader

Missouri’s new voter ID law was motivated by the same forces that lead to Jim Crow laws and segregation, according to a small group of local activists gathered Wednesday at Springfield’s Park Central Square, site of the 1906 lynching of three black men. Several people, including representatives of the Missouri NAACP and Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, gathered downtown to speak with local journalists about the new law, which went into effect June 1. Marlon Graves, vice president of the Springfield NAACP chapter, and local liberal activist Marla Marantz explained the significance of holding the event in the Park Central Square.

Missouri: ACLU challenging Missouri’s Voter ID law in court | The Missouri Times

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the state of Missouri over its new Voter ID law. The ACLU is challenging the Show-Me State in court, saying Missouri failed to provide adequate funding to implement the law. The funds are to be used for voter education, providing free voter identification and birth certificates, and training for poll workers. The new law took effect June 1. The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri, who are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the law from remaining in effect during a local special election on July 11. In-person absentee voting begins Monday, June 12, and an additional 52 Missouri counties head to the polls on August 8.

Missouri: Civil rights groups sue to block Missouri’s new voter ID law | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The American Civil Liberties Union and another civil rights group filed suit Thursday seeking to stop implementation of Missouri’s new photo ID voting law in advance of a July 11 St. Louis special election, claiming the law is an attempt to disenfranchise voters. The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, alleges the state has failed to provide adequate public education about the new requirements. “Voters were promised that this law was not about disenfranchising the most vulnerable in our state,” Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, said in a written statement. “The state’s lack of funding and implementation of this law tells another story.”

Missouri: New voter photo ID law is unclear and unfunded, advocates claim | St. Louis American

According to a new law, effective June 1 Missouri voters must have state-issued photo ID in order to vote. In the November 8 election, voters passed Constitutional Amendment 6, which authorizes photo ID requirements at the polls. In a May 31 press conference organized by the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, a group of over 30 nonprofits and public servants, questions were raised both about whether this law is ethical and about how it will be implemented. The rule will be effective in the elections this upcoming July and August, which will include a St. Louis City aldermanic election on July 11, and special elections for one Missouri House and one Missouri Senate seat on August 8.

Missouri: On eve of new photo ID voting law, opponents equate it to ‘Jim Crow’ | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis voters will be among the first to go to the polls under a new statewide photo-identification voting law, during a special election for an aldermanic seat in July. But Missouri’s top election official is acknowledging the state won’t be ready to provide free IDs to all in that election who may need them. “We won’t get free IDs to everyone who wants them before the St. Louis city special election,” Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a top Republican proponent of the controversial new law, said in an interview Wednesday. Still, he batted back what he alleged is a campaign by the law’s opponents to discredit it, and he insisted that backup provisions in the law would allow every eligible voter to vote even if they don’t have IDs. “People are misleading the voters of the state about what this law said,” Ashcroft said, “and I think that’s despicable.”

Missouri: Federal judge: Parts of Missouri’s campaign finance law unconstitutional; $2,600 donor limit stays | St. Louis Public Radio

Parts of Missouri’s new campaign finance law is unconstitutional, but the $2,600 individual donor limit will stick, according to a ruling issued Friday by Senior District Judge Ortrie Smith of the Western District of Missouri. But in striking down a provision in the law that banned certain committee-to-committee transfers, it’s opened up the ability to raise an unlimited amount of money through a local political action committee and transfer that cash to a different PAC. In effect, that will make campaign money harder to track and makes it easier for candidates to get around the individual donor limit. The Missouri Ethics Commission referred calls to Attorney General Josh Hawley, who didn’t immediately return a request for comment on whether he’d appeal the ruling.

Missouri: GOP lawmakers reject another push to boost voter photo ID funding in Missouri | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Republicans Tuesday turned back another Democratic attempt to put more money into Missouri’s new voter photo identification law. In a hearing to discuss the state budget, Democratic state Rep. Peter Merideth of St. Louis sought to amend the latest spending blueprint to take $3 million out of the state lottery’s $16 million advertising budget to help finance the implementation of the new voter ID law. “I think $13 million would be sufficient to advertise lottery in Missouri,” Merideth said. The $3 million in lottery money would be added to the current earmark for voter ID of $1.4 million, which would be used to educate voters about the new requirement, as well as help voters without photo ID to attain the documents needed.

Missouri: Voter ID rollout begins amid questions about money and necessity | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After more than a decade of trying, Republicans resurrected last year a measure to require photo IDs for Missouri voters. The Missouri Supreme Court had struck down the first attempt in 2006, finding the law abridged a fundamental right to vote for thousands without government-issued photo IDs. But before putting a new measure on the ballot last year, GOP supermajorities made some changes. Not only will non-driver license ID cards be free, the documents necessary to apply for them — such as birth certificates or marriage licenses — will be, too. And anyone who can’t get either can still vote with a utility bill, a paycheck or other form of ID accepted previously by signing a statement swearing they are who they say they are.

Missouri: True cost of voter ID law still unknown | Missourian

The cost of Missouri’s new voter identification law is still up for debate, as legislators and government officials present wildly different numbers. Cost estimates range from $300,000 to millions of dollars. Those numbers could grow if a plan to enact the federal Real ID Act of 2005 in Missouri moves forward. The voter ID law, which was passed in Missouri last year, requires voters to present photo identification at polling locations, though if one doesn’t have identification, provisional ballots are provided. In order to ensure that low-income voters are not disenfranchised, the law states that the Missouri government must pay for non-drivers licenses and backing documents — paperwork such as birth certificates or divorce papers needed to obtain an ID. Advertisements are also required to ensure Missouri residents are aware of the changes. The changes take effect June 1.

Missouri: Ashcroft says governor’s offer isn’t enough money for Voter ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri’s top election official said Tuesday he’ll need far more money than Gov. Eric Greitens offered in his budget plan last week to effectively implement the state’s new photo ID law before August elections. The law, pushed by Republican legislators and approved by voters last year, requires Missourians to show a photo ID before voting or sign a legal document swearing they are who they say they are. In response to heavy Democratic criticism that it would prevent the elderly, disabled and poor from voting, Republicans also required the state to pay for IDs for those who can’t afford them. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is tasked with letting voters know about those changes, estimated it would take between $1.1 million and $1.5 million to do so in the next fiscal year.

Missouri: State officials’ next step: Deciding how to pay for voter ID law | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of Missouri residents said they wanted voters to have to show a photo ID at the polls, and lawmakers obliged. Now, state officials must figure out how to pay for the law, which goes into effect June 1. Gov. Eric Greitens has said the budget to implement the law should be $300,000. Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said Tuesday that it’ll cost more like $1.5 million. Both of those are far less than the previous administration’s $4.26 million estimate, which Ashcroft said “included some things that aren’t required under the law, like sending multiple letters to every registered voter in the state of Missouri.” Ashcroft didn’t address the disparity between his and Greitens’ proposed funding.

Missouri: Republicans vow to fund photo ID implementation in tough budget year | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri Republicans are committed to funding the rollout of a voter-approved photo ID law taking effect this year, even as declining tax revenue and growing Medicaid costs have led to a budget shortfall of nearly $500 million. The law requires Missourians to show photo identification before voting, or sign a binding legal document that says they are who they say they are. But it also requires the state to foot the bill to provide photo identification to anyone who doesn’t have one and wants one, absorbing the costs of any documents needed along the way, including birth certificates, divorce decrees, marriage licenses, social security cards or naturalization papers to prove citizenship. Without sufficient funding for those costs, the personal identification requirements “shall not be enforced,” the law says.

Missouri: Jason Kander criticizes republicans over voter ID | The Kansas City Star

Secretary of State Jason Kander admonished the Republican dominated General Assembly Wednesday over legislation passed last year requiring voters to provide a photo ID before they can cast a ballot. House Republicans responded by ditching a planned resolution that would have thanked Kander for his years of service. Kander, a Kansas City Democrat, has long opposed voter ID legislation, arguing that it serves no purpose and yet could disenfranchise certain voters. After more than a decade of trying, GOP lawmakers successfully approved voter ID legislation last year, and a voter ID constitutional amendment was approved by voters in November. In a speech to the Missouri House Wednesday, Kander said he’s heard that lawmakers are considering stiffening the voter ID law. He warned against taking such actions.

Missouri: Incoming Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft working on voter photo ID | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Although he has not formally taken office, Missouri’s next secretary of state is working to implement a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Republican Jay Ashcroft told the Post-Dispatch Friday that he was in talks with the Legislature to ensure there is enough funding for the voter photo ID law. And, he is crafting guidelines for how it will work if someone shows up at the polls without an ID card. “It’s a big thing to take care of,” said Ashcroft, who will replace Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat. On Nov. 8, 63 percent of Missouri voters favored a change in the state constitution to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. For those without a valid form of photo identification, the state will be required to provide an ID for free.

Missouri: Lawmakers move to make ballot selfies legal in Missouri | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri could soon join at least 20 other states where it is legal to take a selfie in the voting booth. Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would alter Missouri voting rules, paving the way for people to publicly post pictures of themselves and their ballots without fear of prosecution. “Everybody takes selfies of everything,” said Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City. “Why should someone not be able to exercise their First Amendment rights?” Davis has introduced House Bill 315, which eliminates 27 words in the election code that could be used to prosecute people taking selfies after they vote. Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, has introduced an identical version of the measure in House Bill 249. The proposals come after an election cycle in which questions were raised about the legality of taking ballot selfies across the nation.

Missouri: St. Louis prosecutor uncovers ‘important evidence’ in voter fraud probe, turns case over to feds | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The city’s top prosecutor said her office “uncovered important evidence” in a voter fraud investigation dealing with an August primary statehouse race that has since been reversed by voters. The case — which centered on the validity of absentee ballots — has now been turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office. In an email with the subject line “Fraud,” a spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce said Tuesday that based on prosecutors’ findings, “the U.S. attorney’s office has agreed to expand the investigation at Joyce’s request.” U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan confirmed his office had been monitoring the investigation since it began in late August. “But in recent weeks, they asked us if we would assume responsibility for the main role, and we agreed,” Callahan said. Callahan declined to offer any specifics about when the investigation might conclude.

Missouri: Judge orders new system for voting for Ferguson-Florissant school board members | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A U.S. District Court judge is calling for a new system of voting in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, one intended to bolster the ability of African-Americans to elect school board members of their choice. Judge Rodney Sippel — who struck down the school district’s voting methods in August — calls for a system involving so-called cumulative voting. Under such an approach, voters cast as many votes as there are candidates, distributing those votes among candidates as they choose. Unlike the current system, a voter could use all votes on a single candidate. In the ruling, the judge argues the system allows voters to “concentrate their full voting power behind their preferred candidate without requiring voters to give up any of the votes they are entitled to cast.” The new system is to go into effect in time for the board’s April election. The ruling requires that voters first be educated on the new system.

Missouri: Court challenges likely for photo ID, campaign contribution amendments | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Perhaps fitting on a night defined by Donald Trump’s largely self-funded presidential win, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a change to the state constitution that will reinstate campaign contribution limits. In Missouri – known for having some of the most lax campaign finance laws in the country – donors can spend millions to elect their chosen candidates, which some argue leads to those officials being beholden to their financial backers over their constituencies. But that’s about to change. Supporters of the amendment hailed their win Tuesday, saying it will help keep elections from being influenced only by the wealthy. And in Missouri elections without limits, candidates do raise significantly more money, but from fewer donors – indicating their contributors have deep pockets – and raise more money out of state. But those against the cap argue that it prohibits free speech through political expression, that donors should be able to spend what they like on candidates so long as they disclose their contributions to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Missouri: Voters support campaign contribution limits and voter ID requirements | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missourians on Tuesday appear to have overwhelmingly voted to reinstate campaign donation limits and to require photo identification for future elections but snuffed out two proposed cigarette tax increases. … The campaign donation proposal, if it withstands an expected court challenge, will cap donations at $2,600 per election for individual candidates for state and local offices and $25,000 for political parties. The measure, Constitutional Amendment 2, also makes it illegal in most cases to shuffle money between committees. “It just resonated with the people,” said Todd Jones of the Missouri Campaign Contribution Reform Initiative, speaking of the wide margin late in the evening. “They finally want to take back control of their government. They haven’t had that opportunity when people are writing million-dollar checks” to campaigns. Opponents contended that the current system ensures transparency and that the limits would unfairly restrict political expression.

Missouri: Voters to decide if contentious voter ID legislation becomes law | MissouriNet

Missouri voters will decide the outcome of a contentious voter ID measure in November’s election. Republican state lawmakers passed legislation and overrode Governor Nixon’s veto of such a bill this year. The measure requires voters to present a photo ID, but allows them to forgo the procedure if they sign an affidavit. The affidavit state’s that the voter is aware that they can get a photo ID for free and that they’ll attempt to obtain one. Republican state Senator Dan Hegeman of Cosby supported the bill. “I think that the integrity of our elections is certainly worth stepping up and working with people to ensure that integrity, so that people feel comfortable that the election process is fair and substantive.” The bill becomes law if citizens pass the voter ID ballot measure next month. But the ballot measure actually goes further. It allows the legislature to come back in future sessions and strip the affidavit process and require voters to have a photo ID as a condition to cast a ballot.

Missouri: Voter ID Laws Expected To be Challenged in Missouri | Ozarks First

We’re exactly two weeks away from Election Day and one issue on the ballot is the voter ID law which is expected to pass, and also to be challenged. Tuesday, the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri held a forum about the issue, which according to them, is a bad idea. Several states have challenged the voter ID law, and it’s expected to be no different here in Missouri. “We are going in and changing the Missouri Constitution,” said Dr. Elizabeth Paddock, a professor of political science at Drury University. Missouri has tried to implement voter ID laws for years and the state’s Supreme Court has deemed it unconstitutional before. “That’s why this time around the legislature passed the law, but they said the voter had to confirm it,” said Dr. Paddock.

Missouri: Groups opposing voter ID amendment team up to relay concerns to voters | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

With only a few weeks left before the Nov. 8 general election, opponents to a voter ID amendment are ramping up appeals to voters they hope will reject the proposal. Some advocacy organizations have formed a coalition for broader outreach. They include Progress Missouri, the NAACP, AFL-CIO, AARP, Missouri Faith Voices, Metropolitan Congregations United and Communities Creating Opportunity. At issue is an amendment that will allow Missourians to decide if the state constitution should be changed to require voters present photo identification before voting. If voters approve it, a bill passed by the legislature will also take effect, which lays out which IDs qualify and requires the state to pay for individuals to obtain an ID or documents necessary to get an ID.

Missouri: Federal judge orders St. Louis Election Board to allow disabled to vote on electronic machines | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A federal judge on Friday ordered the St. Louis Election Board to make electronic machines available to the disabled for absentee voting in the Nov. 8 general election after two blind men sued the board. The lawsuit alleged that not making the technology available was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig said the temporary restraining order against the Election Board is in effect until a decision is made on the men’s request for a preliminary injunction. A hearing is set for Oct. 13. However, the attorney for the men, John J. Ammann, said he is working with the Election Board to extend the order for electronic voting “throughout the election period.” The order applies to all people who could not otherwise vote without access to a touch-screen machine, which allows a blind person to vote with the help of audio equipment.