June 23, 2020

 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —  The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled the lawsuit seeking to allow all Missouri voters to vote by mail without a notary during COVID-19 can proceed.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Missouri, and Missouri Voter Protection Coalition on behalf of the NAACP of Missouri, the League of Women Voters of Missouri, and several individuals.
The state legislature recently expanded access to vote by mail to all voters during COVID-19 following the lawsuit, but did not exempt all voters from having to put their health at risk in order to satisfy the notary requirement.

The following reactions are from:

 Sophia Lin Lakin, deputy director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, who argued the Supreme Court case: “This decision is a big victory for Missouri voters. The court ruled that our lawsuit to make sure all eligible voters can vote by mail without a notary during COVID-19 can continue.”

 Tony Rothert of the ACLU of Missouri: “All Missouri voters should be allowed to participate in this year’s elections without putting themselves and their loved ones at risk by having unnecessary contact with third parties. In response to our lawsuit, the legislature provided some relief to some voters, but we are gratified that the Supreme Court recognized we have a valid case on behalf of all voters.”

 Denise Lieberman, lawsuit co-counsel and general counsel to the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition: “We are gratified that the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that Missouri voters have a ‘real’ and ‘substantial’ claim to ensure they can vote safely in the midst of this pandemic with the upcoming elections ahead. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. We look forward to bringing the claims of the people back to the court for relief.”

 Nimrod Chapel, Jr., president of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP: “The NAACP stands ready to defend the rights of people in court, this decision validates the importance of voting as a fundamental right in our Constitution. While people demonstrate in the streets and the legislature pushes Jim Crow legislation to restrict voting and attacks on workers, voters must have redress at the ballot box and in the courts. Republican attempts to reduce the ability of minorities to vote with wrong-minded barriers will fail as they have historically, even in the face of this pandemic.” 

 Evelyn Maddox, president of the League of Women Voters of Missouri: “The League encourages the Missouri General Assembly to move our state forward with no-excuse, no-notary absentee ballots for all future elections.”

 The case, Missouri NAACP v. Missouri, was filed in Circuit Court of Cole County, Mo.