Missouri sued by state’s League of Women Voters, NAACP

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Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The state of Missouri and Secretary of State John “Jay” Ashcroft are being sued in Cole County Circuit Court by the League of Women Voters of Missouri and the Missouri State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The LWVMO and the MO NAACP’s lawsuit challenges several provisions in Missouri’s H.B. 1878.

The organizations are being represented by the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition.

According to information about the case on the CLC’s website, the bill “prohibits any person other than a government employee from being paid to assist with voter registration,” “requires any person who assists more than 10 voters with registration to register with the Secretary of State as a ‘voter registration solicitor,’” “mandates that only registered voters in the state of Missouri are permitted to assist with voter registration,” and “forbids anyone from suggesting a person should obtain an absentee ballot application.”

The CLC continues and says, “The challenged provisions violate LWVMO’s and Missouri NAACP’s freedom of speech, freedom of association and due process protections enshrined in the Missouri Constitution.”

The CLC states, “The bill’s language is so vague that a volunteer could be subject to prosecution, including prison time, for simply reminding a voter that they can vote absentee if they will be out of town on Election Day.”

They then add that the LWVMO and the MO NAACP frequently hold voter registration events in communities throughout the state.

The CLC says that “LWVMO and MO NAACP, as well as their volunteers, reasonably fear that H.B. 1878 would criminalize many of their most basic voter outreach efforts.”

The CLC, which is representing the organizations, says: “Absent court action, H.B. 1878′s changes to Missouri’s election laws will create deliberate barriers to voter registration and absentee voting, which will be most acute in communities of color.”

The CLC has made the entire lawsuit available online. You can view the PDF by clicking here.

Secretary of State John Ashcroft’s office has not sent out a press release regarding the suit as of 6 p.m.

Stay with KCTV5 News for any updates.