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Federal lawsuit filed against Missouri Secretary of State, county election boards over mail-in voting process

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 6:02 PM CDT
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LAKE OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - Millions of voters across the country will be casting their vote by mail in the next few weeks for the November presidential election.

Lawmakers in Missouri allowed mail-in voting in the August and November election because of the coronavirus.

A lawsuit has now been filed against Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

“There are several claims that we are making that really fit strongly into federal law," said Denise Lieberman of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition.

The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and other groups to ask a judge to change the way mail-in ballots are accepted in Missouri.

Under state law for the November election, if you request a mail-in ballot it must be sent back in the mail.

“And that’s true even if the voter is at the election board getting that ballot notarized," Lieberman said. “They can’t just leave the ballot there with election officials. They have to in fact mail the ballot back to the office that they have just left.”

The lawsuit wants those early votes to mirror absentee ballots.

”Absentee ballots can be returned by mail or in person," Lieberman noted.

The lawsuit also wants safeguards to make sure a vote is counted. Lieberman said there have been easily correctable mistakes on the ballot envelope, which could cause the vote to be thrown out.

”In a lot of jurisdictions, ballots were getting rejected [in August] for minor errors such as forgetting to check a check box, or forgetting to confirm their address," Lieberman said.

Lieberman hopes there is a quick ruling.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office says it does not comment on on-going legal battles, but said the state has held three successful elections during the pandemic.

Ashcroft has previously stressed the best way to vote, is in person.

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