Longtime Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren submitted her resignation letter to Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday and will leave the office at the end of this month, Noren said in a statement emailed to reporters. Noren cited health reasons for her resignation, which said was “by far the hardest task I have ever had to do in all my years as county clerk.” Noren took a leave of absence in 2013 to undergo treatment for a condition similar to colorectal cancer. Aside from her leave of absence, Noren continued to oversee her office operations and county’s elections while battling cancer. “In recent weeks my health has deteriorated rapidly and there are no viable treatment options available,” Noren said in her statement. “To continue trying to do my job will only place an additional burden on my family, my staff, and the other elected officials.”
Articles about voting issues in Missouri.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.