Absentee voting is underway in Missouri, for those with an excused absence. The Secretary of State’s office would like that to change and allow Missouri voters to cast ballots early without having to provide an excuse.

You don’t have to wait until November 2nd to vote in the General Election, but you do have to have a reason to cast an absentee ballot.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has been pushing, without success, for the state legislature to give Missourians the convenience of early voting. Is convenience enough of a reason to push early voting? We asked Carnahan spokeswoman Laura Egerdal.

“When Secretary Carnahan is asked about this, she often points out that Tuesday was originally chosen, because it was a convenient day for people,” Egerdal responded. “In that spirit, we should continue to look at ways to make it convenient for Missourians. It’s certainly something Missourians deserve.”

Egerdal points out that all of our neighbor states allow early voting, except for Kentucky. None have reported problems.

Several methods can be used to enact early voting, such as simply allowing no-excuse absentee voting. In-person early voting is an option some states use in which the voter must cast their ballot at the election authority’s office, normally the county clerk, or at an official satellite office.

Registered voters in Missouri can cast an absentee ballot if they qualify under five criteria: anticipated absence on Election Day, incapacity, religious practice, employment by an election authority such as a poll worker and incarceration, providing that voting rights are retained.

Egerdal says the Secretary of State’s office will continue to work with lawmakers on an acceptable early voting system.

“Obviously, it’s very important that our elections are secure,” Egerdal said. “Our office and I know the General Assembly wants to make sure that whatever proposal comes forward is going to ensure the security of our elections.”

She adds that any system must be cost-effective as well.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:20 MP3]