Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced $1 million in grant funding that will go towards improving Missouri’s election process. Kander made the announcement at the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities annual conference held Sept. 20-23, 2016. The grant will help local election authorities make improvements to the voting polling places’ Internet service, voter registration, poll worker training and voting equipment.
Missouri: Voters will now get a say in voter ID, but law could still be challenged in court | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri Republicans may have muscled through a voter ID law on Wednesday, but their veto session victory could be relatively short-lived, if court rulings in other states are any indication. Before any court challenges can be filed, however, voters will have their say. The vetoed law overridden by lawmakers this week is tied to a referendum on Nov. 8, when Missouri voters will be asked whether to amend the state constitution to require voter identification. If they approve, the law would go into effect in 2017. At issue is whether requiring Missouri residents to present a photo identification before voting disenfranchises certain groups, including people of color, the elderly, the poor and students. Missouri Republicans, like their GOP counterparts in other states, argue that showing a photo ID is a common-sense way to prevent voter fraud. Democrats say voter fraud isn’t a pervasive problem, and that voter ID legislation is merely a way to suppress minority voters who tend to support more liberal candidates. Recently, courts throughout the country have agreed.
Senate Republicans turned to the nuclear option Wednesday, voting to cut off debate, end a Democratic filibuster and override Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a voter ID bill. The maneuver, known as “calling the previous question,” has historically been rarely used — only 15 times since 1970. But in recent years Republicans have increasingly used it to force through bills that have garnered vehement Democratic opposition, including earlier this year when they killed a nearly 40-hour filibuster of a “religious freedom” amendment to the state constitution. That was the case Wednesday on a bill that would require Missouri voters to provide a government-issued photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Missouri: Judge orders new election for state representative primary race in St. Louis | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A St. Louis circuit judge on Friday tossed out the results of a fiercely contested Aug. 2 Democratic primary and ordered a new election based exclusively on what may seem like an insignificant detail: the St. Louis Election Board accepted 142 absentee ballots without envelopes. But Judge Rex Burlison’s 22-page decision details the reasons why those envelopes are required by law and says the board can’t ignore or circumvent “tedious and specific” provisions. The decision gives Bruce Franks Jr., a 31-year-old activist who lost by 90 votes, another chance to unseat incumbent state Rep. Penny Hubbard, 62. It also casts doubt on the methods election authorities across the state use to count absentee votes when they are cast in person. “It’s the happiest I have been in a long time,” Franks said on Friday afternoon. “I’m so happy for the people … This is huge.”
… Something else she never thought she’d be doing in 2016 was fighting to preserve the right to vote. Yet that’s exactly what she and dozens of other black activists have undertaken across the country, some for the second time in their lives, after a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutted a major provision of the Voting Rights Act. The elimination of that provision, which required nine states and many other localities with a history of racial discrimination to secure federal approval before changing election laws and procedures, sparked a series of measures across the country effectively restricting access to the polls with a disproportionate impact, once again, on black voters.
Missouri: Voter ID law once again stirring controversy as veto override possibility looms | The Kansas City Star
A decade ago, Missouri Republicans began their quest to require voters to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. Every time they’ve gotten close to succeeding, something has come along to put the kibosh on the idea — either a court ruling, a Democratic filibuster or Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto pen. GOP leaders believe they’ll take the first step toward finally putting the issue to rest when they return to the Capitol next month to consider whether to override Nixon’s latest veto of a voter ID bill. Then in November, voters will weigh in on an amendment to the state constitution allowing a voter ID law, a necessary second step in the process because the Missouri Supreme Court previously declared voter ID laws unconstitutional. “I’m very confident,” said Rep. Justin Alferman, a Gasconade County Republican who sponsored the voter ID bill this year. “A lot of work and compromise went into this year’s bill, and I don’t think the Democrats are going to fight this very hard.”
Missouri: St. Louis judge waits to make ruling on vote fraud case until state certifies election results | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A judge will wait to rule on a vote fraud case involving absentee ballots for the state representative race in the 78th District until results are officially certified from the Secretary of State’s office. Circuit Judge Julian L. Bush on Monday could have dismissed the case filed by Bruce Franks, who lost in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary to incumbent Penny Hubbard. Instead, Bush issued a stay, keeping the case alive. It’s basically a procedural move preventing Dave Roland, the attorney for Franks, from having to refile his official challenge to the election results. He is claiming that a high number of improper absentee ballots tilted the election in Hubbard’s favor.
Missouri: St. Louis Election Board asks local prosecutor and U.S. attorney to review allegations of voter fraud | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Election Board of Commissioners has referred allegations of voter fraud in the race for the 78th District state representative to the city’s top prosecutor and the U.S. attorney’s office. “The written complaint received this morning contained the serious allegation that evidence exists of illegal activity regarding the absentee ballot process,” the commissioners wrote in a news release Wednesday afternoon, in explaining its action. The action was taken after a large group of residents walked into the downtown Election Board offices Wednesday morning, asking to talk with Democratic Director Mary Wheeler-Jones. Each person had in hand a signed form letter, alleging that absentee ballots cast in the Aug. 2 primary race between newcomer Bruce Franks and incumbent Penny Hubbard were “obtained illegally, were tampered with, or both.”
Not to rush the general election on primary day, but come Nov. 8, Missouri voters will be asked to approve a voter ID measure. The constitutionality of voter ID was cast in severe doubt by three federal courts during the past two weeks, so Missourians should be prepared to vote no and save the state some money. Amendment 6, as it will be titled on the November ballot in Missouri, would require voters starting next year to present a government-issued photo ID before casting ballots. Such measures in other states have failed federal court challenges. Amendment 6 would force Missouri to spend a lot of money defending a law that doesn’t deserve to be defended. It is the fruit of a decade-long effort by Republican lawmakers to make it harder for many Missourians to exercise their rights to vote. In 2009, then Secretary of State Robin Carnahan estimated the number at 240,000 and identified most of them as minorities, the disabled and elderly.
Missouri: Lawmaker predicts Legislature will override Governor’s veto of photo ID bill | Missouri Net
The sponsor of a bill requiring Missourians to submit a photo ID before voting predicts the Legislature will override Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto in September. State Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) notes the Missouri Senate passed his bill 24-8 in May. The Missouri House approved Kraus’ bill 112-38 in May. An override requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers, which means at least 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House. “I fully believe there will be 24 people voting to override, or at least 23. As we get closer to veto session, we’ll make sure that everybody plans to attend and we’ll double-check and make sure that nobody has changed their mind,” says Kraus.
Missouri: Stenger donor gets $2.1 million St. Louis County elections contract | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
On March 4, St. Louis County invited companies to bid on selling the Board of Elections 1,200 computerized tablets to check in voters at polling precincts. One well-connected vendor provided more than the 52-page bid documents had spelled out. On March 11, Scott Leiendecker donated $10,000 to the campaign treasury of County Executive Steve Stenger, according to documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Two months later, the County Board of Elections awarded Leiendecker’s company a contract worth up to $2.1 million to supply the county with the company’s “first of its kind, tablet-based electronic poll book.” It’s not the only time Stenger campaign donors have recently benefited from the county’s business. As the Post-Dispatch previously reported, Stenger just last month announced that the county planned to move the Elections Board from its longtime headquarters in Maplewood to renovated offices at the former Northwest Plaza shopping center in St. Ann. The development is owned by David and Bob Glarner, who donated $75,000 to Stenger last year through a holding company. The 20-year lease is worth up to $50 million in rent from the Elections Board and two other county agencies relocating there.
A controversial measure that would require a government-issued photo ID to vote was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday, with the Democratic governor arguing it would act as a barrier against citizens’ fundamental right to vote. It proved to be one of the most contentious items of debate during the 2016 legislative session, reflective of a broader ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans on voter access. GOP lawmakers argue the bill would prevent voter fraud, but their Democratic colleagues said it was a solution in search of a problem. Missouri Democrats fought the issue throughout session, eventually winning some compromises. Under the measure, voters without a photo ID can sign an affidavit at the polls, swearing they are who they say they are under penalty of perjury. Their vote then counts so long as their signature matches the one on file. Other provisions in the bill include exemptions for anyone born before 1946, anyone with a disability and those with religious objections to their photo being taken. Under the measure, the state also foots the bill for the IDs and any documents needed to get them.
Missouri voters will determine the fate of a long-debated voter identification requirement in November. Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Monday that a joint resolution has been certified for the November 2016 ballot. The General Assembly authorized the measure to put the voter ID issue on the ballot.
Missouri: St. Louis voters can’t use touch-screen machines at Tuesday’s election | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis and St. Louis County residents who like to cast their votes on a touch-screen machine won’t find one when they go to polling places for Tuesday’s election. Election authorities say the unusually short three-week period since the March 15 presidential primary didn’t provide enough time to reprogram and test each of the touch-screen devices without major difficulty. So all voters in the city and county will have to use paper ballots and feed them into optical-scan machines. Normally both optical-scan and touch-screen methods are available across the city and county. “In theory it would have been possible to do a complete turnaround, but my staff would have been run so ragged,” said Eric Fey, Democratic director at the county Election Board. “The possibility of mistakes and the cost just begins to increase exponentially.”
Missouri: Nixon looks at whether to veto, sign photo voter ID implementation plan | Daily Star-Journal
Missouri photo voter ID legislation will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, but legislation directing how to implement the measure is still on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk. If voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, then implementation legislation could come into play. Nixon could sign or veto the measure. In the event of a veto, the Republican-dominated General Assembly could attempt an override.
Voters will decide the fate of a constitutional amendment requiring Missouri residents to show photo identification at the polls in the November election. In action Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon set the Nov. 8 general election as the date for the ballot measure that was approved by lawmakers during the recently completed legislative session. The move was expected after the Democratic chief executive told reporters on May 13 that he disagreed with the concept of placing additional requirements on Missourians to vote. But, he said, putting it on the general election ballot, rather than the August primary ballot, would give more voters a chance to weigh in.
A proposal that would establish how voter photo ID would work in Missouri is in the hands of Governor Jay Nixon (D). The bill would set up the system for requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. It would allow those who lack one to sign a document swearing, under penalty of perjury, that they don’t have one at all – in which case they would be allowed to vote, and the state would pay the costs to get them one. Like any other bill Nixon could veto it, sign it into law, or allow it to become law without acting on it. He told reporters he doesn’t support requiring a photo ID to vote.
Missouri voters will soon be asked to vote on how they vote. Thursday evening, the Missouri State House voted to send a referendum to the ballot that will ask citizens to amend the state constitution to require voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot. That measure is the second half of a two-part maneuver: Legislators previously passed a bill that governs how the requirement would be implemented, but thanks to a state supreme court decision ruling against a similar law in 2006, the Show Me State has to amend its constitution in order to create the requirement. Missouri Democrats, outnumbered in both houses of the General Assembly, blasted the law but were powerless to stop it. Nor can Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, veto the ballot referendum—though he does get to decide when the vote will be held.
Missouri House Republicans voted Thursday to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot later this year requiring photo ID at the polls, but not before Democrats bashed the proposal one last time. The plan has drawn some of the most heated debate of the legislative session. Opponents say the proposed requirement is a ploy to decrease turnout among Democratic-leaning voters. Supporters say it’s needed to ensure in-person voter impersonation fraud doesn’t take place. “The sad part of this is that people in this body think it’s a joke,” said state Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City. “They think that when we push these buttons in front of us — the red and green buttons — it has no implications.
Missouri is poised to become the latest state in the nation to move towards requiring a photo ID at the polls. On Wednesday night, the state Senate voted 24-8 to approve a measure that will effectively let voters determine whether to require voter ID at the polls. It’s expected to pass the House today. Should it do so, Republican lawmakers say they have enough votes to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Missouri lawmakers have tried to pass a voter ID law for 10 years, arguing that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud. In 2006, the state’s Supreme Court declared a previous voter ID law unconstitutional. The bill is paired with a separate measure that, if approved by voters this fall, would amend the state constitution to allow for a photo ID requirement at the polls. Missouri’s initiative comes as voters in 10 other states will face stricter ID requirements for the first time in a presidential election. In April, a federal court upheld a law in North Carolina requiring voter ID at the polls, although civil-rights groups said they will appeal the ruling. A few days later, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a similar law in Texas to remain in place while the case is argued before a federal appeals court.
Missouri: Kander submits proposals to avoid repeat of flawed St. Louis County election | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander on Wednesday submitted a list of recommendations his office believes will help St. Louis County avoid the pitfalls that blemished April 5 voting. The proposals duplicate several of the reforms that election officials have promised to put in place in response to the ballot shortages last month at over 60 county precincts. Democratic Elections Director Eric Fey has stressed in media interviews as well as during testimony at County Council and legislative hearings that the agency is overhauling its certification process to ensure that each polling precinct in the future receives the correct number of ballots.
Missouri: Change afoot as troubled St. Louis County election headquarters heads toward November | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
With a change in leadership on the horizon, the St. Louis County Election Commission is taking preliminary steps toward resolving a pattern of missteps that has marred countywide voting twice in under 18 months. At separate meetings Tuesday afternoon, the commission and the County Council gave voice to the sense of urgency for change at the beleaguered agency as it prepares for the most important date on the electoral calendar: the Nov. 8 presidential balloting. One key figure, Republican Election Director Gary Fuhr, will be absent as the election office enters the fall election season and, prior to that, the August primary to pick the local candidates who will appear on November general election tickets.
Missouri: Voter ID requirement gets final go-ahead in the Missouri Legislature | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A measure laying out photo ID requirements at the ballot box won final passage in the Missouri Legislature on Wednesday. The bill still needs either Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature or, if he vetoes the bill, a successful veto override in the Legislature. It would take effect only if voters approve to a change to the state constitution. A separate resolution putting the proposed constitutional change on the ballot this year is awaiting approval in the Senate. Both pieces of legislation advanced out of the House early in the legislative session, but they had been stalled in the Senate until this week.
By a 112-38 vote, the House truly agreed to and finally passed HB 1631, which would provide the framework to implement photo voter ID. The Senate amended the legislation earlier this week as part of a compromise to allow it to come to a vote after several attempts to pass the legislation were filibustered. The compromise allows voters who do not have photo voter ID to sign an affidavit saying that they do not possess an ID as required by the law. They would then be able to vote using a regular ballot. If they do not sign the affidavit, they would cast a provisional ballot. “What this bill is, is actually the most generous photo voter id bill that this country has seen, especially the way this bill has been amended by the Senate,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin. “We are helping people who are marginalized, people who are not able to do things right now, by giving them a free ID.”
Missouri Republicans have been trying to enact a voter ID law for more than a decade. Tuesday they overcame a major hurdle, striking a deal with Senate Democrats that ended a filibuster and paved the way for voters to decide whether to amend Missouri’s constitution to allow the state to require a photo ID before casting a ballot. The Missouri Senate voted 24-8 to approve voter ID legislation. A second voter ID bill amending the state’s constitution is expected to be approved later this week. “For 10 years we’ve gotten nothing,” said Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican who has sponsored the voter ID bills for several years. “This is an historic step forward.” The voter ID issue has threatened to derail the legislative session for months. Democrats had vowed to block the measure, which they argued could disenfranchise thousands of Missouri voters. Until this week, they had made good on that promise.
Missouri lawmakers from both parties see the voter ID issue as far from settled, even as the Republican-controlled Legislature is poised to tighten the state’s requirements after Democrats managed to stall a pair of proposals for about a month. Senate Republicans passed a bill on a 24-8 party-line vote Tuesday that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. A constitutional amendment that would allow that measure to be enacted is still awaiting a vote. Both proposals would go into effect only with voter approval. Missouri Republicans have sought to establish a photo ID requirement to vote for a decade. The state Supreme Court struck down one measure in 2006, saying the cost to obtain the identification was an unconstitutional burden on voters. So this year, Republicans proposed that the state would pay for voters’ IDs. They also proposed changing the state constitution to allow lawmakers to set photo ID requirements for voting.
Missouri: Agreement reached in Missouri Senate over contentious voter ID proposal | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement over a proposal that would require voters to show ID at the ballot box. Under a version of the legislation adopted Monday, if voters don’t present a photo ID, they would sign a statement under penalty of perjury attesting that they are who they say they are. The voter would then have to present some form of ID, such as a university-issued ID or a utility bill. “The bill is requirement of photo ID, and the statement is a way for them to be able to cast a normal ballot,” said state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit. “But we want to make sure that they know it’s the law of the land that they have to get an ID.”
Missouri: House task force issues report on botched St. Louis County election | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A Missouri House task force investigating the issues that led to a chaotic April 5 municipal election has come up with a legislative agenda to address the ongoing problems plaguing residents seeking to cast a vote in St. Louis County. The proposals referred to House Speaker Todd Richardson include a recommendation that residency no longer be a qualification for leadership of the St. Louis County Board of Elections. Removing a requirement that the two directors atop the election authority reside in the county would open the door for a “nationwide search … for those critical positions,” Rep. Shamed Dogan said in a letter delivered to Richardson’s office Thursday afternoon.
There is a variety of origin stories for why Missouri is known as “the Show-Me State.” But if Republicans in the state legislature get their way, it could take on new meaning for voters headed to the polls—as in, “Show me your photo ID.” The state senate, which is overwhelmingly Republican, is considering a double-barreled proposal. One part is a joint resolution that would place a ballot measure before voters to create a constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification to vote. The other part governs how the requirement would be enforced if approved; in particular, it would require the legislature to fund programs to help get voters who don’t have some form of ID a card. If there’s no money, the requirement wouldn’t go into effect. The House already passed both halves in January. Senate Republicans brought the issue up Wednesday, but Democrats filibustered until 2 a.m., and the issue was temporarily set aside. Democrats have repeatedly obstructed attempts to pass the measures. Republicans are expected to bring it up again before the end of the session on May 13, and may use procedural measures to try to end the Democratic filibuster. If they succeed, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, could veto the the bill, but his veto would likely be overridden. He can’t veto the joint resolution.
Missouri: Kraus, Republicans confident photo voter ID will pass despite Democrat’s filibuster | The Missouri Times
For the third time this session, Senate Democrats stalled a vote on photo voter ID legislation sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit. The Wednesday night filibuster on HB 1631, authored by Rep. Justin Alferman, stretched to about 1 a.m. early Thursday until the chamber went to an “at rest” period, and the Senate adjourned just an hour later for the day. At a press conference Thursday, Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, voiced his frustration at the Democratic stonewalling, but he remains confident that Republicans will get the bill passed this session despite strong opposition. “The effort of trying to get this done and working with the minority party is there,” he said.