JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge rejected Friday a motion that that would have immediately made it easier for Missourians to vote with a mail-in ballot during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cole County Judge Jon Beetem denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters, the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported.
At issue is how voting will work as public health officials urge people to social distance to avoid spreading COVID-19. The lawsuit seeks to allow all Missourians to cast absentee ballots without notarization in 2020.
Under a new law, people considered at-risk of the coronavirus — those age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain existing health problems — can vote absentee without having their ballot notarized.
The Missouri Supreme Court sent the lawsuit back for further review, ruling last month that Beetem was wrong to dismiss it.
Beetem said Friday the groups presented no new arguments.
“Absent evidence that the ‘consistently effective social distancing and related strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19’ could not be employed in the notary circumstances, the court concludes that plaintiffs have not made a convincing showing of irreparable harm from the notarization requirement for mail-in ballots,” he wrote.