Show Me … a Correct Address? USPS Asked to Help Missouri Residents with Iowa Addresses

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It isn’t unusual to see stories (or at least allegations) about voters in one state casting ballots in another – but in Missouri it appears there are some voters who have difficulty casting valid ballots because they have Iowa addresses. KTTN has more:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has written a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan asking the postal service to correct addresses of Missouri residents with Iowa mailing addresses.

Senator McCaskill mentioned Clark County commissioners and residents of Clark County formally have requested the postal service make the address changes. In addition, the Senator noted residents of the Missouri counties of Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, and Atchison also are affected. McCaskill urged the Postmaster General to proactively work with all of those counties to correct the issue as soon as possible.

The Senator quoted Clark County Commissioner Buddy Kattelmann as saying the problem has existed for at least 30 years. She said the presiding commissioner claims no one has provided a definitive answer as to why Missouri residents in Clark County have Iowa addresses. [I do note that the border has been a point of contention in the more distant past, with the two states squaring off in what became known as the “Honey War” in the 1830s – DMCj]

Senator McCaskill said all Clark County commissioners believe now is an optimal time for the Postal Service to correct the addresses because Clark County currently is transitioning its 911 address system.

The letter to the postmaster general said the address issue causes residents, businesses, and local governments of the six counties a wide variety of unnecessary burdens and said it can take several months to obtain death certificates. Local police officers believe Missouri driver’s licenses are fraudulent because they have Iowa addresses.

A Clark County clerk expressed concern that addresses negatively have impacted the integrity of Missouri’s voting system because Iowa addresses are not compatible with the state-wide voter information system. Senator McCaskill said, as a result, affected Missouri residents are unable to properly register to vote, have difficulty determining their voting precinct and district, and may have to use provisional ballots to vote.

The Superintendent of Clark County schools expressed similar concerns saying Iowa addresses are incompatible with Missouri’s student information system.

The Senator said a small, local tax and accounting firm indicated incorrect addresses have caused clients considerable confusion and frustration on their Missouri state income tax returns, Missouri property tax credit returns, and with the state of Iowa, which believes those Missouri residents should be filing Iowa tax returns because of their address.

Senator McCaskill also asked for a response to three requests by December 13th. They are a history of the issue, including the years Iowa addresses were assigned to Missouri residents, a dedicated contact person responsible for working with the communities to resolve the issue and an estimated date by which the changes can be finalized.

The letter to Postmaster General is a follow-up to a meeting the two had earlier this month. McCaskill said the postmaster agreed to work with her to resolve the issue.

This story is admittedly a curiosity, but it’s a vivid reminder that much of how we, as Americans, interact with our state and local governments is tied to location – and specifically, a mailing address. I’ll be curious to see how this all shakes out – it’s no latter-day Honey War, but it’s still a fascinating problem. Stay tuned …

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