ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo.--A Cole County judge will hear motions early next month in a lawsuit brought by Missouri voters who say the state of Missouri can’t use current congressional district boundaries in the August election just because lawmakers have failed to come to agreement on new boundaries.
Joseph Pereles, of St. Louis County, is among five plaintiffs suing Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, arguing that their districts are now overpopulated according to 2020 Census data. The suit was brought in March. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker will hear motions in the case May 2 at 4pm. The same schedule has been assigned to the same judge for a suit brought by GOP officials who are also suing over the potential for using the current boundaries.
Lawyers involved in the cases could not be reached for comment Friday. State lawmakers have failed to reach a final agreement on a new map, with little sign of hope a deal gets done by the end of the legislative session May 13.
“It’s a quagmire, for sure,” said Eric Fey, director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
Missouri election officials face a May 24 deadline to certify the August 2 primary ballot. “It’s hard to say what a court might do,” Fey said, adding that he wasn’t sure how quickly any changes brought by a court could be implemented. There is also a question of which court will take on the task of redrawing the map if it gets that far.
The last time the courts got involved was 1982, when Missouri lawmakers failed to pass a new map before adjourning their regular session in the spring of 1981.