A federal judge ordered Missouri officials to provide voter registration information to residents seeking to update their addresses at motor vehicle offices by mail or online. U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes found that their failure to do so violates the National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the federal motor voter law. Wimes ordered the action to be taken ahead of this November’s election. His order came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. The suit named Missouri Secretary of State John R. “Jay” Ashcroft and Joel Walters, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Ashcroft is the state’s chief election official responsible for enforcing the motor voter law. The Department of Revenue oversees the Driver License Bureau.
Under the federal law, the state is supposed to update residents’ voter registration information whenever they update their address with their motor vehicle office. Missouri had been doing that for voters making updates in person but not for those making those changes by mail or online.
Evidence in the case showed about 200,000 Missourians move to new counties every year and thus to new election jurisdictions. Since the 2016 election, some 40,000 Missourians used the forms at issue to update their license records, according to the defendants’ own records.