October 25, 2014

Secretary of State candidates split on top issue facing the office

After two terms for Robin Carnahan, Missouri will have a new Secretary of State in 2013. The two major party candidates for that office disagree on the most important issue in the race.

Republican Shane Schoeller says it’s taking away opportunities for voter fraud, “That we do more to protect the integrity of the elections. That’s why I’ve been a strong proponent of getting photo ID passed as the primary source of identification when you show up to vote on election day, which my opponent (Jason) Kander has called ‘extreme’ and ‘unfair.'”

Democrat Jason Kander does say the proposals that have come up in Missouri were extreme and unfair, and he points out approaches taken in other states that he supports.

“If you look at Idaho, for instance … no one would call it a liberal stronghold, and it has come up with a sensible and strong voter ID law that doesn’t disenfranchise a single eligible voter. In Idaho, if an eligible voter goes to cast a ballot on election day and doesn’t have photo identification, the voter can sign a sworn affidavit and then cast a ballot like everyone else, not a provisional ballot … which are rarely counted. If voters aren’t who they say they are, they’ll be put in jail. That seems like a strong deterrent to me.”

Schoeller says he proposed a bill that included the affidavit language that Kander voted against. Kander says the difference between it and the Idaho measure is that Schoeller’s proposal would have given individuals in that situation a provisional ballot, but Schoeller says the ballot would be counted unless it is proven the person casting it is not a legitimate voter.

Kander says the most important issue facing the Secretary of State, and all elected officials, is finding ways to spur job creation. He says his approach would begin with the office’s business services division.

“What I will do is make sure that the folks who work in the business services division also take a real, proactive role in connecting and building relationships with organizations throughout the state … many of which are nonprofit organizations … who exist to help new entrepreneurs avoid some of the common pitfalls that people run into when they first start a business.” Kander adds, “If we develop those relationships through the business services division, then we can make sure to connect people with these organizations that many times they don’t even know are there in their community.”

Schoeller says he, too, has plans in mind for that division to help foster job creation.

“Right now, there’s a little less than 60 different classifications that you have to figure out how to register a business under when you register a business in the state of Missouri. In our neighboring state of Kansas they have less than ten classifications.” Schoeller says he would work to reduce the number of classifications used in Missouri.

Schoeller says another area important to businesses relates to when rules are passed either through the legislative process or by voters. “All too often, regulators sometimes write beyond the intent of legislation and they, for example, write into the rule making process their own ideas. I think it’s important that if you’re in the office of the Secretary of State that … you’re protecting people who are business owners and Missourians across the state from any unnecessary regulations.”

Schoeller accuses Secretary Carnahan of allowing such regulations to go forward, and says he will hold regulators accountable.

Voters go to the polls a week from tomorrow.