A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri issued an order on Friday requiring the State of Missouri to take immediate steps to prevent Missourians from being denied their right to vote in this November’s election as a result of the state’s failure to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The judge ordered that the online and mail change-of-address forms used by the state motor vehicle agency, the Department of Revenue (DOR), be updated to provide voter registration information, and that the state send every voter who has used these forms since August 1, 2017 a mailing that includes a voter registration form and information about the appropriate polling location. These mailings must continue to be sent to every voter who uses the mail and online change-of-address forms until the court-ordered changes to those forms are completed.
“The state of Missouri has been failing to provide address update services required by the NVRA. This disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income individuals, who tend to move at higher rates,” said Naila Awan, Counsel at Demos. “Today’s ruling sides with democracy and promotes a more robust and inclusive democracy.”
“By requiring the State to immediately contact individuals who were not provided the required voter registration services when updating their address, today’s ruling will help ensure that fewer Missouri voters will be disenfranchised this November as a result of the state’s failure to comply with the NVRA,” said Davin Rosborough, Staff Attorney in the ACLU Voting Rights Project.
“The court found that Missouri is dodging its legal responsibilities to voters,” said Tony Rothert, Legal Director of the ACLU of Missouri. “We should be doing everything we can to encourage, rather than hinder, participation in our democracy.”