The Obama administration has abandoned a politically charged 2005 voting rights lawsuit against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan that was ginned up during the Brad Schlozman era in the Civil Rights Division. The Missouri lawsuit was one of seven filed by the Department of Justice during the Bush years alleging states weren’t doing enough to purge ineligble voters from the voting rolls — a perennial Republican complaint — sparking criticism that the law was being applied in a partisan manner.
A federal judge in Kansas City had ruled that Missouri officials had made a good faith effort to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as “motor voter” because it allows people to register to vote when they apply for drivers licenses. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2008 that lack of local compliance of the act could mean that the state did not legally manage its official voter rolls.
After the case returned to the district court, a motion to reopen discovery was denied. Read Mark Morris of the Kansas City Star about the DOJ’s move to end the lawsuit. Carnahan, a Democrat, is now running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. She is the daughter of former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, famous for beating then-Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft in 2000, even though he’d died in a plane crash before the Senate election. (His death occurred too close to the election to remove his name fromteh ballot). Carnahan’s wife, Jeanne, was appointed to fill his seat. Ashcroft then served as U.S. Attorney General under President George W. Bush.