The legislature is moving to make it easier for Missourians overseas to vote in state elections. The sponsoring senator is his own example.
Senator Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit defended our right to vote by flying Army helicopters in Iraq and 2003 and 2004. But when he wanted to vote, he had to start applying for his absentee ballot about nine weeks before the election. He says he downloaded the application off the internet but then had to use regular mail to send it in–a process that took two to three weeks. It took about that long to get the ballot and about that long to send it in in time to be counted.
The Senate has passed Kraus’s bill that lets military personnel and overseas civilian personnel eliminate that first three weeks by applying through the internet. It still has to get through the House. He says thousands of Missourians will benefit from the change. He says Missouri had 9,800 voters overseas last year. In 2010, the number was 3,391 “thereabouts,” he says.
The ballot will still travel overseas and back through regular mail. Kraus says the system is not yet ready for full internet voting But his bill will cut the process by one-third and make it more likely that more votes will reach election authorities back here in Missouri in time.