Iowa Addresses for Missouri Residents 'One of the Dumbest Things,' McCaskill Says

For at least 30 years, a group of Missouri residents has faced an extremely odd challenge: They have been forced to use Iowa mailing addresses.

Those addresses were apparently assigned to the residents in at least six counties along the northeastern corner of the Show Me State — a group estimated to be at least several hundred people, according to Drew Pusateri, a staffer on the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The reason? Apparently the homes are closer to an Iowa post office than one in Missouri, Pusateri says — and back when mail routes were less sophisticated, using the wrong state as their official addresses was deemed an workable solution.

But the bizarre situation has persisted for decades on end. And, Pusateri says, the wrong-state addresses have led to all sorts of complications — from difficulties getting death certificates to incompatibility with the state's voter-identification system. Income tax returns can be a nightmare. "It's been more than a weird quirk for some of these affected folks."

What's even more bizarre is that the problem was hiding in plain sight for decades on end. Pusateri says it's possible it may go back much longer than three decades. No one seems to know.

Now U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is saying enough is enough. She spelled out the problems in a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General late last week, and in the process demanded three things: a history of how long the problem has existed, a dedicated contact for those dealing with the matter and an estimated date for it be fixed.

McCaskill gave the agency a December 17 deadline.

“The notion that Missouri residents have faced numerous hassles for decades because they have an Iowa mailing address is one of the dumbest things I’ve come across,” McCaskill said in a release. “This needs to get fixed and I plan on doing everything I can to help.”

Residents of Atchison, Clark, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler and Scotland counties are believed to be those affected. Pusateri says McCaskill first learned of the problem from the presiding commissioner of Clark County, Buddy Kattelmann, as well as a constituent who'd contacted her office.

"All of Clark County's commissioners believe that now would be an optimal time for the U.S. [Postal Service] to correct these addresses because Clark County is also currently in the process of transitioning its 911 address system," McCaskill wrote.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]

About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
Scroll to read more St. Louis Metro News articles (1)


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.