On Eve of Mayoral Primary Election, ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of St. Louis Voters

Affiliate: ACLU of Missouri
March 5, 2001 12:00 am

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ST. LOUIS, MO–In an effort to restore voting rights to voters here before tomorrow’s mayoral primary election, rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri entered court today to prevent a repeat of November’s Election Day fiasco.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is two-fold,” said ACLU of Eastern Missouri Executive Director Matt LeMieux. “In the short term, we need to protect against the disenfranchisement of voters in tomorrow’s mayoral election, and in the long term we need to make sure that the practices which have disenfranchised St. Louis residents for years are corrected for future elections.”

The class action lawsuit, filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court on behalf of ten named plaintiffs, asks the Court to immediately bar the City Board of Elections from using an inactive voter list compiled in violation of state law.

The ACLU was joined in the legal action by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Mound City Bar Association.

The lawsuit also asks the Board to provide sufficient staffing and election judges at polling places, use proper identification requirements, provide properly functioning voting machines, and provide voters with assistance when needed to complete ballots.

The unconstitutional practices cited in the lawsuit include:

· the use of flawed inactive voter lists; · inadequately staffed polling places; · inadequate voting equipment; · inadequate training of election judges; · lack of sample balloting machines; · lack of available assistance to voters who need help completing a ballot; · and improper identification requirements.

“There is nothing more sacred in our democracy than the right to vote.” said LeMieux, “We need to ensure that voters are given adequate means to exercise this right.”

To date, the ACLU has filed voting rights lawsuits in Florida, Georgia, and Illinois to correct similar practices in those states. To read more about those cases, go to our Voting Rights web page at archive.aclu.org/issues/voting/hmvr.html.

Legal complaint in the case is available online at http://archive.aclu.org/court/moore.pdf.

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