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League of Women Voters, NAACP say new election law will hamper voter registration work

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The League of Women Voters and the Missouri NAACP are arguing in court that a Missouri election law that takes effect Sunday will hurt their work to register voters.

The groups sued Monday to stop the law, which also includes a photo ID requirement for voting, from going into effect.

The League of Women Voters and the Missouri NAACP interact with thousands of voters and provide education and assistance necessary for individuals to exercise their right to vote.

Along with the law stating voters would need to show photo ID in order to vote, another provision would ban payment toward anyone who is working to register others to vote. Under this ban, the plaintiffs' paid employees will be prohibited from helping people register.

The organizations say that unpaid employees still receive reimbursements for things like mileage, food and other expenses. These reimbursements boost the volume of volunteers and act as an incentive for people wondering if volunteering is something that interests them. With the ban on compensation, the plaintiffs say they will have to stop offering these reimbursements to volunteers.

The League of Women Voters is a statewide nonprofit that works to foster civic engagement and enhance access to the vote since its founding in 1919. The league works to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to register and exercise their right to vote.

The Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, says it works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all people and eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Voting is a foundational value for the Missouri NAACP, according to the organization, which said it believes enabling all Missourians to exercise their fundamental right to vote is vital.

Defendants include the state of Missouri, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is responsible for implementing laws related to voting, and Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson.

Current law already incorporates safeguards to ensure the accuracy of voter registration applications, the groups argue in their filing. For example, applicants must sign and certify the accuracy of their applications, with perjury as a potential penalty.

No hearings have been scheduled yet but summonses have been sent to both Ashcroft and Thompson.

Ashcroft, Thompson, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics

Ethan Heinz

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