ACLU Challenges Legislature’s Early Voting Proposal

By Missourinet

Published 07/03 2014 04:18PM

Updated 07/03 2014 07:36PM

(Missourinet) -- The American Civil Liberties Union charges the legislature has put a misleading early voting proposal on the November ballot. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit saying the ballot language written by the General Assembly is “untrue.”

The ballot language says, “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including Wednesday before the election day in all general elections.”
The organization points to a provision reading:

5. No local election authority or other public office shall conduct any activity or incur any expense for the purpose of allowing voting in person or by mail in advance of the general election day unless a state appropriation is made and disbursed to pay the local election authority or other public office for the increased cost or expense of the activity.

The lawsuit maintains that the provision does not guarantee early voting will take place because it will only happen if the legislature appropriates funds for local election authority expenses.

Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman calls the legislature’s resolution “a sham” proposal that tries to “truck voters.”   The bill was passed after a citizen petition was successfully filed establishing an early voting period of thirteen days, more than double the length of time the legislature’s proposal advocates. The legislature’s proposal would not allow early voting on Sunday while the petition issue would allow Sunday voting.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Norman Seay, a long-time St. Louis civil rights leader and retired Director of Equal Opportunity for the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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