Missouri voters will get to decide whether to expand Medicaid eligibility. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has certified an initiative petition intended to expand government-funded health coverage and put the question on the election ballot.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (file photo courtesy of the Secretary of State’s office)

Ashcroft left Gov. Mike Parson a little time to choose whether to switch the ballot measure from the November general election to the lower turnout primary election in August. The deadline is Tuesday for Missouri’s chief executive to make that decision.

In a press release, Ashcroft says his office verified signatures using random sampling – a quicker way – instead of the usual method of sending them to local election authorities. He says he used the approach because local election authorities are busy preparing for the June 2 municipal election.

“After visiting all 116 election officials in the state over the last two weeks, I know we made the right decision,” he says. “It would have created a tremendous amount of work for them at the same time they prepare for, conduct and certify their local election.”

Ashcroft cites state law giving him the ability to use random sampling.

Pursuant to Section 116.120, RSMo., the secretary of state performed the approval of petition signatures by congressional district. Per state law, “the secretary of state may verify the signatures on the petition by use of random sampling.” The law states that “the process for establishing the random sample and determining the statistically valid result shall be established by the secretary of state. Such a random sampling shall include an examination of five percent of the signatures.”

The Healthcare for Missouri campaign wants to put another 230,000 low-income adults on Medicaid. If approved by voters, those earning up to $18,000 annually could qualify.

Missouri is one of 14 states without Medicaid expansion.

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