A House committee has heard legislation that would bring about early voting in Missouri. HB 59 would allow any eligible voter to cast a ballot at a central voting location in his or her district, with the advance voting period beginning the third Wednesday before an election. In addition, satellite voting stations would be set up in some districts.
Representative Michael Corcoran of St. Ann, the sponsor, says it is important to improve access to voting throughout Missouri. Corcoran says the idea is not new.
"Currently, there are 35 other states doing this, so it’s not cutting edge legislation," testified Corcoran before the House Committee on Elections. "It’s pretty much widespread. I think it’s the wave of the future."
Among those expressing concern was Cooper County Clerk Darryl Kempf, who worries about counties being forced to bear the costs of early voting.
"You do have stated in here that the state will pay for this," said Kempf. "We would hope that once you put this in the bill that you live up to that year after year."
Those concerns were echoed by Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff.
"I’m all in favor of Missouri voters having this convenience," stated Struckhoff. "But, you know, if it’s a cost situation does the state have this kind of money?"
The hearing ended with the committee taking no vote on the proposal.