February 13, 2016

Early voting victim of politics, senators say (AUDIO)

Two of this year’s proposals to end the long practice of making liars out of thousands of voters is under study in a state senate committee. 

One Senator says nothing but politics has blocked passage of an early voting law similar to ones in more than thirty other states.  Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt could not get a Democratic legislature to approve it.  Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan couldn’t get a Republican legislature to approve the idea. A state senate committee is looking at a couple of versions of  early voting bills backed by Senators Jolie Justus and Gina Walsh.

Lawyer Denise Lieberman with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, says it’s time the legislature made voting easier.  “Missouri’s single-day voting system and antiquated absentee voting system needlessly restrict opportunities for eligible voters to cast a ballot,” she tells the committee. She points to studies saying early voting would end one of the most common election day headaches. “Effective early voting helps alleviate  those long lines on election day,” she says. Early voting, she says, also eliminates some of the heavy burdens on “overworked poll workers.”

The only early voting Missouri has now is the absentee ballot. But people voting absentee have to say they won’t be in town on election day—a statement critics of absentee voting say is often a lie.

AUDIO: Committee hearing 23:01