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ACLU files lawsuit pushing for absentee voting amid coronavirus pandemic

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft over absentee voting issues in the wake of COVID-19.

The ACLU, on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters of Missouri along with multiple individuals, filed the lawsuit pushing for Missouri to allow absentee voting without a notary seal for all voters.

The lawsuit said that the global COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to electoral democracy.

"Without declaratory and injunctive relief from this Court, Missouri voters face the unconscionable choice between protecting their health and the health of their families and neighbors and forfeiting their right to vote or voting absentee at the risk of their ballots being discarded and potential criminal prosecution," the lawsuit reads.

The ACLU stated in the documents it believes there has been a lack of clarity whether those looking to avoid contact in relation to COVID-19 are eligible to submit an absentee ballot.

Ashcroft's office responded to a request for a statement Saturday. In that statement Ashcroft said, "Our office must follow the plain language of the law. As such, I am prohibited by the Missouri Constitution from unilaterally changing or interpreting the law.  Any changes to interpretation of the plain language of the law must be done through the courts or legislation."

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Ben Fein

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