Somebody had to start the process. A Columbia woman is the one who has made it possible for a petition campaign to put early voting on the ballot next year. .
Former state League of Women Voters President Jo Sapp filed the petition with the Secretary of State after watching the issue get tied up in partisan politics in the last legislative session and hearing various groups talk about the need to get an early voting law passed. Majority Republicans refused to back early voting unless Democrats dropped their opposition to voter photo ID proposals. The stalemate killed both bills.
The Secretary of State has approved Sapp’s petition for circulation, giving groups a specific proposal to consider running with. She hopes groups promoting early voting in the past will organize around the petition and gain signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.
Sapp’s petition would allow no-excuse early voting from 17 days before an election until the weekend before election day. She says Missouri is kind of an island on his issue. “As I understand it, all of the states surrounding Missouri have early voting one way or another,” she says.
She says she’s confident citizen groups will pick up the petition and circulate it. Whoever circulates the petitions has to get tens of thousands of signatures by next May 2nd.