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Mail-in ballot ruling remains on hold

Scott Lauck//October 22, 2020

Mail-in ballot ruling remains on hold

Scott Lauck//October 22, 2020

A recent court ruling allowing voters in Missouri to return mail-in ballots in person will remain on hold while the case is appealed.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order on Oct. 22 granting the Missouri Secretary of State’s motion for a stay pending appeal. The court said an opinion explaining the ruling would follow.

With less than two weeks before Election Day, it was not clear when the appeal would be resolved.

The order continues a stay that U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Oct. 9 issued on his own preliminary injunction in favor of a group of organizations whose lawsuit argues that Missouri’s current laws are too confusing.

The suit challenged a state law enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that established different procedures for absentee and mail-in voting. Absentee voters, who must have a valid excuse to stay away from the polls, can return their ballots either in person or by mail. Mail-in voters do not have to provide an excuse, but they must return their ballots by U.S. Mail and cannot hand-deliver them to their local election authority.

The plaintiffs alleged the different rules violate equal protection rights. The state said the procedures are reasonable and non-discriminatory, and serve important regulatory interests.

The case is Organization for Black Struggle et al. v. Ashcroft, 20-3121.

RELATED:  Judge stays ruling allowing mailin voters to return ballots in person

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