A court ruling has rejected a lawsuit seeking to force the Secretary of State to allow early voting in St. Louis. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay brought suit when Secretary of State Matt Blunt opposed his plan to allow St. Louis voters to cast ballots during a two-week period prior to the November 2nd election. Despite the ruling against his lawsuit, Slay insists early voting could still be the rule under election reform passed in 2002 if only Secretary of State Matt Blunt would allow it. Blunt has heard such criticism from Democrats before and says it glosses over the fact that a Republican-controlled Senate approved early voting, while the House, which in 2002 was controlled by Democrats, pulled out the early voting provisions during debate on the measure. In his ruling, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan concludes state law isn’t clear on early voting. He writes in his opinion that he was “confronted with unresolvable ambiguity”. Callahan writes that led him to review the statute’s historical development to determine the legislative intent. He notes that changes made during the 2002 legislative session appear to have scrapped efforts to authorize advance voting in exchange for mere planning. Callahan writes “This Court’s conclusion is the same as that reached in the Fiscal Note to the final version of SB 675, which showed no costs for advanced voting and reflected the Office of Administration’s assumption that the bill only provided for plans to study advance voting and did not authorize or implement the practice”.Slay says he hasn’t decided yet whether to appeal.
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