ST. LOUIS — An appeals court ruled today that a challenge to the state of Missouri’s failure to provide adequate funds to educate the public and make appropriate preparations to implement its voter ID law can proceed. The voter ID law went into effect on June 1, 2017.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, ACLU National, and Advancement Project sued Missouri over its voter ID law, charging it failed to provide mandated funding for voter education, free voter IDs and birth certificates, and training of poll workers. The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri.
“Today’s decision is a win for Missouri voters. The court found that Missouri is dodging its legal responsibilities to voters in implementing this voter ID law,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.
The law mandates that the state fully fund all costs associated with implementing the law, including all costs for related public education, free voter IDs and birth certificates, and training of poll workers. To date, the state has appropriated just a fraction of the amount necessary to cover these costs.
“Advancement Project national office has been fighting restrictive voter ID policies in Missouri for more than 10 years and we’re pleased about the court’s decision,” said Denise Lieberman, co-program director of Advancement Project’s Power & Democracy program. “Implementation matters. The state of Missouri failed to allocate enough funds to notify voters about the voter ID change. This ruling shows Missouri voters that their rights matter in the eyes of the appellate court. By seeing this case go to trial, the court recognizes it has a role in stopping voter suppression. We look forward to our day in court.”
“We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. The state is doing the latter by implementing the law without enough funds to do it right, and the court correctly found that our case should proceed,” said Sophia Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project who argued the case. “This is particularly telling given a court ruling earlier this month finding that the state had been issuing misleading ads.”