From Missouri Digital News: https://mdn.org
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
Lobbyist Money Help  

Blunt wants to open up absentee voting

January 19, 2005
By: Ben Welsh
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt announced his support Wednesday for legislation that would allow all Missourians to vote absentee.

By taking down barriers to the absentee balloting process, the legislation would open up the option to vote before election day to all Missouri voters. In the past, absentee ballots were reserved for those unable to make the trip to their polling place.

Blunt acknowledged the loosening of standards might open up the possibility for fraud. But he said opening up the process would be an inexpensive way to increase voter participation.

"Anytime you expand access you're balancing," Blunt said. "I think this is a reasonable balance."

The move drew immediate support from Rep. Harold Selby (D-Cedar Hill). Selby has served on the House election committee in the past and said he has reapplied this session.

"I think it opens up access to voters of both parties and that's what it's about," Selby said. "The other thing this is going to do is that it's going to take some of that crowd away on voting day and maybe those lines won't be so long."

Under the proposed legislation, any voter would be able to cast an absentee ballot during the six week period before the election. That would allow voters to cast their ballots before the gubernatorial debates.

The change would be expected to greatly increase the number of absentee ballots cast. The burden for managing the increase would fall on those responsible for tallying the votes: county clerk's offices across the state.

But the strain should be managable, said Rep. Bill Deeken (R-Jefferson City), a former county clerk who flanked Blunt during his press conference. He said he plans to introduce the governor's desired legislation.

"Each office will have to accommodate itself," Deeken said. "You may have to put some help on in your office."

The legislation would also remove the need for absentee ballots to be notarized.

The bill still must work its way through committee and win approval from both chambers of the Republican controlled General Assembly before Blunt may sign it into law.