The legislature’s early voting proposal is before voters tomorrow. One of the state’s leading pro-voter groups thinks it’s worthless.
Amendment Six allows six days of early voting, three days two weeks before the election and three more days in the week right before the election.
But early voting could take place only at the county election authority office during regular Monday through Friday business hours and could not happen during the three weekdays before election day.
Earlier proposals had required more days, additional voting places and weekend hours that backers said would make it easier for voters who have trouble getting to polls on regular election days to cast ballots.
But Lee’s Summit Senator Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit defended the plan during the legislative session. “We’re not having multiple sites, and we’re having it at the election authority so we’re having experts doing it, not to mention weekends and stuff like that. So I think this is the right way to go,” he said.
The League of Woman Voters calls Amendment Six “a sham.” President Elaine Blodgett of Columbia says the plan does nothing for the people who need it most, noting: “It allows early voting for only six days and it excludes Saturday and Sunday which is where you can get people that work odd hours or work a full day or whatever to get in to vote.” She says limiting voting to one place during regular business hours makes it worse.
The legislature whipped together the proposal when a petition was going around calling for several weeks of absentee voting at convenient locations and hours. The petition failed to get enough signatures to make it to tomorrow’s ballot.
Kraus defends his proposal during Senate debate in May (You’ll hear the voices of Senator Jolie Justus, Kraus, Jay Wasson, and Kurt Schaefer. Justus is opposed):
League of Women Voters Missouri President Elaine Blodgett interview:
Information from the Secretary of State’s Office.
Official Ballot Title
Constitutional Amendment 6
[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SS SCS HCS HJR 90]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to permit voters, in years when the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before election day to cast a ballot in all general elections. This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to provide all voters with a six-business day early voting period.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.