On August 14, 2002, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of the State of Missouri alleging that the requirements with respect to voter registration enacted by the Board during ...
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On August 14, 2002, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of the State of Missouri alleging that the requirements with respect to voter registration enacted by the Board during the November 7, 2000 National Election violated the Voting Rights Act. The suit was based on the claims that the Board of Elections unjustly placed thousands of active voters on inactive status and thus removed them from the registered rolls during the November 2000 and March 2001 elections. The United States argued that the canvassing method to inform citizens of this change was not in compliance with section 8 of the Voting Rights Act, and that during the elections in question the Board did not have a sufficient number of election judges available to support complaints of this effect. The suit followed similar claims raised in a class action voting rights suit filed in state court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri in March 2001. Following reports of widespread voter processing errors in St. Louis during the 2000 elections, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched an investigation which culminated in the filing of this suit.
Contemporaneous with filing, on August 14, 2002, the parties entered into a consent decree, which was approved by the Court (Judge Carol E. Jackson). With judgment, the court ruled that the inability of the Board to inform citizens of their inactive status was in direct violation of 42 USC §1973gg-6 because the voters were completely unable to obtain active status in time to vote. The court ordered that prior to subsequent elections, the Board initiate an effective media strategy encouraging citizens to confirm and reactivate their status if necessary, and that at set times prior to elections, public announcements to this effect be made in major local print, online, and radio media. In addition, the court ordered that each precinct in subsequent elections be staffed by at least one additional "specialist judge" to process inactive voters. The consent decree resolved the claims of the related state court action.
On November 4, 2002, the Court ordered, prior to the national elections, that precincts were to proceed with the use of specialist judges, regardless of whether or not the judges were employed by the city of St. Louis.Nick Loyal - 02/27/2006