A bit of personal lobbying by the Secretary of State seems to have an effect as the House gives tentative approval to a measure ensuring you can have a paper ballot on Election Day, if you want one.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan came to the House to lobby for a bill that would ensure a voter’s right to cast a paper ballot. She heard from Republican leaders only that they would try as they explain that a bit of tension between Republicans and Democrats have slowed the day’s business.
HB 2114 is supported both by Carnahan, a Democrat, and Governor Blunt, a Republican. It would appropriate one and a half million dollars to ensure polling places have plenty of paper ballots. At least two jurisdictions ran out of paper ballots in 2006. Carnahan noted that many more voters are expected to go to the polls this election year which will feature a much more crowded ballot.
Carnahan was hesitant to say whether her personal lobbying will make a difference.
"I don’t know," Carnahan joked with reporters on the side gallery of the House, "Let’s talk about that after the session closes, then we can decide whether it was a good strategy or not."
Apparently, it was. A few hours later, Rep. Jake Zimmerman (D-Olivette) brought the bill to the House floor. He told colleagues it’s a simple bill, "If you walk into a Missouri polling place and you say, ‘I want to cast a vote on a paper ballot’ the answer should be ‘Yes’".
The bill has been given preliminary approval on a 122-to-21 vote. It needs one more vote to move to the Senate.