Missouri: The Voter Registration Report From Ferguson Was Impossible | FiveThirtyEight

Sometimes when a number seems like an outlier, it’s not an outlier — it’s wrong. Last week, the St. Louis County Election Board reported that 3,287 people in Ferguson, Missouri, had registered to vote since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in early August. I wrote at the time that “Ferguson’s 3,287 new registrants (in two months) is more than recorded by any township in St. Louis County in any midterm election since 2002.” On Tuesday, the Democratic leader of the St. Louis County Board of Election Comissioners said, “Turns out that was an incorrect report that we were using.” According to an article by Jessica Lussenhop at Missouri’s Riverfront Times, the initial number reported was the “total number of interactions with Ferguson residents that had anything to do with their voter registration, so that included changes of address and other alterations to records.” The actual number of new registrants from Aug. 9 to Oct. 6 totaled just 128. That’s a little less than 4 percent of the original figure reported by the board.

Missouri: Huge Increase In Voter Registrations In Ferguson Apparently Never Happened | TPM

Last week, numerous news outlets, national and local, reported on a huge increase in registered voters in Ferguson, Mo., following the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. But it apparently didn’t actually happen. The St. Louis County elections board reported that 3,287 Ferguson residents had registered to vote. That is a huge surge for a city of 21,000, particularly as controversy swelled about the racial make-up of the city government after the shooting. Ferguson is two-thirds African-American, but its mayor and all but one member of the six-person city council are white. But apparently that first report was in error. There was no voter registration spike. The county elections board reversed course on Tuesday and said that, actually, only 128 people had registered to vote since the shooting. Yamiche Alcindor of USA Today reported on the gigantic revision, attributed to an unexplained “discrepancy.”

Missouri: Voter registration in Ferguson surges after Brown killing | USA Today

More than 3,000 people have registered to vote in Ferguson, Mo., since the death of Michael Brown — a surge in interest that may mean the city of 21,000 people is ready for a change. Since a white police officer shot the unarmed black 18-year-old on Aug. 9, voter registration booths and cards have popped up alongside protests in the city and surrounding neighborhoods. The result: 4,839 people in St. Louis County have registered to vote since the shooting; 3,287 of them live in Ferguson. The city’s population is two-thirds African American; five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor. The St. Louis County Election Board does not record the races of eligible voters, but many believe the increase is a sign that Brown’s death has spurred renewed interest in politics and might mean more blacks will vote in the upcoming election. “It’s a great move when people come out and register in mass like that,” said Anthony Bell, St. Louis 3rd Ward committeeman. “They are sending a signal that we want a change. It doesn’t give justice to the Michael Brown family, but it will in the future give justice to how the administration is run in a local municipality like Ferguson.”

Missouri: Court ruling forces printing of new ballots for November | Joplin Globe

Absentee voting opened Tuesday for the November general election, but local residents who want to vote early won’t get a real, official ballot Ñ at least not yet. That’s because all the ballots for the Missouri general election are being reprinted after an appeals court ordered a change to a proposed early voting amendment that will be decided in November. Ballots for most counties had been printed before the ruling was handed down, forcing county clerks order new, revised versions, said Bonnie Earl, Jasper County clerk. “We were pretty much blind-sided,” she said. Rep. Sue Entlicher, chairwoman of the House Elections Committee, said she will work on legislation aimed at preventing similar problems in the future. Under current law and court rulings, changes to ballot measures are allowed up to six weeks before the election Ð the same day that state law requires clerks to make absentee ballots available to the public.

Missouri: Ballot reprinting to cost the state | Nodaway News

Recently, Nodaway County and the rest of the counties in Missouri were notified of changes to ballot language of the Amendment 6 question and also the possible challenge to Amendment 3. Election services were completed except for shipping the ballots for election day. That meant all absentee ballots and regular ballots had been printed and all electronic testing had been completed. All federal and state deadlines had been met to produce ballots for the military deadline of September 19 as well as regular absentee voting of September 23. Ballot challenges in the court system were not complete. Unfortunately, the challenge to Amendment 6 was approved which altered the original ballot language for that issue. Therefore, all election products must be destroyed and the process started over.

Missouri: Court ruling causes reprinting of Missouri ballots | Associated Press

Missouri election officials are scrambling to reprint ballots and reprogram computers after an appeals court ordered a change to an early voting proposal that will appear on the November ballot. County clerks said Wednesday that the change could cost the state tens of thousands of additional dollars and delay the availability of absentee ballots that are supposed to ready for voters next Tuesday. It also could lead to a push during the 2015 legislative session to amend Missouri’s election deadlines. “It is a tremendous burden on the local taxpayers — on the entire state of Missouri — when these types of rulings are handed down at this late notice,” said Atchison County Clerk Susette Taylor, who is president of the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities. A panel of the Western District state appeals court on Monday ordered new ballot wording for a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing a six-day, no-excuses-needed early voting period for future general elections. The judges said the ballot summary approved by legislators was misleading because it failed to note the early voting period would occur only if the state provides funding. Many local election authorities already had printed their paper ballots and programmed their computers based on the list of candidates and issues that were certified last month.

Missouri: Late ballot change costs taxpayers | Lebanon Daily Record

A ballot language change ordered by a state appeals court Monday could cost some Missouri counties thousands of dollars as now they must scramble to reprint the ballots for the November election. Laclede County Clerk Glenda Mott said Tuesday she received the ballots for local voters on Friday. This coming Friday, she was planning to send out the ballots for military members overseas as required by federal law. On Tuesday — six weeks before the November election — she has to have absentee ballots available for voters, according to Missouri statutes. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals Monday reversed an Aug. 25 decision of Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon E. Beetem, who had deemed the ballot language for Amendment 6 sufficient.

Missouri: Court reworks early voting ballot summary | Associated Press

A Missouri appeals court panel rewrote the ballot summary Monday for an early voting proposal, ruling that the wording approved by lawmakers was misleading because it failed to mention the measure is contingent upon funding. A proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot will ask Missouri voters whether to authorize a no-excuses-needed early voting period for future general elections. The six-day voting period would be limited to business hours on weekdays. In its ruling Monday, a panel of the Western District appeals court said the summary prepared by the General Assembly failed to note the early voting period would occur only if the legislature and the governor provide funding for it.

Missouri: Votes From August Election On Right-To-Farm Measure To Be Recounted Statewide | Ste Genivieve Herald

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has ordered a statewide recount of the votes cast in the August 5 Primary Election on Constitutional Amendment 1. The announcement was made August 26, according to Kander’s website. Entitled “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed,” Amendment 1, which passed by a simple majority vote, aims to make farming a right in Missouri, “similar in scope and protection to the speech, religion and gun rights already in Missouri’s constitution,” according to campaign materials authored by Attorney Brent Haden of the Haden & Byrne Law Firm of Columbia.

Missouri: Getting Ferguson Majority to Show Its Clout at Polls | New York Times

Down the street from where the body of Michael Brown lay for hours after he was shot three weeks ago, volunteers have appeared beside folding tables under fierce sunshine to sign up new voters. On West Florissant Avenue, the site of sometimes violent nighttime protests for two weeks, voter-registration tents popped up during the day and figures like the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. lectured about the power of the vote. In this small city, which is two-thirds African-American but has mostly white elected leaders, only 12 percent of registered voters took part in the last municipal election, and political experts say black turnout was very likely lower. But now, in the wake of the killing of Mr. Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white Ferguson police officer, there is a new focus on promoting the power of the vote, an attempt to revive one of the keystones of the civil rights movement.

Missouri: Protest turns to voter registration | St. Louis American

If Ferguson residents want a diverse police force that reflects the community, they need to elect someone who makes inclusion a priority, said Michael McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. In Ferguson – where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer on Aug. 9 – the police department has three black officers and 50 white officers. The town’s population is 67 percent African-American, yet Ferguson has a white mayor and five of the six-member city council members are also white. As the Post-Dispatch illustrated with a startling graphic on the front page of the Sunday paper, Ferguson is typical among county municipalities for its lack of representation of blacks in police and government. Several local leaders are encouraging protesters fighting for justice in the Michael Brown case to keep marching, but also register to vote. The Urban League, NAACP, ministers and politicians have all organized volunteers to educate residents on the voting process and register especially African-American voters. In 2013, only about six percent of the eligible black voters cast their ballot in Ferguson’s municipal election, compared to 17 percent of white voters. “The need for voter registration education and mobility has always been a cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement,” McMillan said.

Missouri: Recount requested on Missouri right to farm | Associated Press

Election officials across Missouri will conduct a recount of the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm, as opponents of the measure seek to reverse the results. The recount on Constitutional Amendment 1 is expected to begin in the coming days. The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri’s Aug. 5 primary elections. Those results show that voters approved the right-to-farm amendment by a margin of 2,490 votes out of nearly 1 million cast, a victory of one-quarter of a percentage point. Missouri law allows the losers to request a recount whenever the margin of victory is less than one-half of a percentage point. The amendment makes farming and ranching official constitutional rights, similar to existing protections for the freedoms of speech and religion. Missouri is just the second state, after North Dakota, to adopt such a measure.

Missouri: Voter Registration in Ferguson Called ‘Disgusting’ | New York Times

On Sunday the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and television host, mentioned that voter turnout in the Ferguson, Mo., area was a mere 12 percent in the last election, and pledged to help boost that number with a registration drive. Twelve percent, he said, was “an insult to your children.” He wasn’t the first to think of channeling the anger over Mike Brown’s death in this particular direction. Twitter users on Saturday noted voter registration tables in front of the makeshift memorial where the unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer. Encouraging more participation in the democratic process in a community that feels alienated from political power — hence the demonstrations — seems like an obviously good idea; and one that’s particularly compelling because it’s so simple. Voting is an alternative to protesting in the streets. And yet, the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, denounced the plan.

Missouri: Early voting initiative may miss Missouri ballot | Associated Press

A Missouri proposal to create one of the most expansive early voting periods in the nation appears to have fallen short of reaching the November ballot, according to an Associated Press analysis of initiative petition signatures. The AP review of signature counts conducted by Missouri’s local election authorities found that the proposed constitutional amendment on early voting lacks enough valid signatures of registered voters in all but two of the state’s eight congressional districts. To qualify for the ballot, initiatives must get signatures equal 8 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in at least six of the congressional districts. Missouri currently allows absentee voting only in limited circumstances when people attest that they won’t be able to vote in person on Election Day. The initiative proposed a 42-day, no-excuse-needed early voting period that would have been one of the longest in the nation and also would have allowed votes to be cast on weekends.

Missouri: Kander expands military voting opportunities | The Rolla Daily News

Missourians serving in the Armed Forces who are stationed away from home now have access to a new online platform that makes voting significantly easier for them, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office. The Military and Overseas Voting Access Portal available at www.momilitaryvote.com, has been launched to give active duty service members the opportunity to securely register to vote and request and receive absentee ballots for all local, state and federal elections.

Missouri: Election timing affects Missouri issues | Associated Press

Missouri’s Aug. 5 elections could provide a case study for the ability of governors to affect proposed ballot measures, both politically and legally. Five proposed constitutional amendments will go before voters this summer, instead of during the November elections, because of a decision by Gov. Jay Nixon. The governor’s prerogative is provided for in the Missouri Constitution and has been used by many chief executives over the years to shift measures off the general election ballot and on to the August primaries. Those decisions can carry political consequences and, as a recent court ruling has shown, may also have legal implications. The political ramifications are perhaps best illustrated by proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, which seeks to create a right to farm similar to what already exists with the rights of free speech, assembly and religion.

Missouri: ACLU Challenges Legislature’s Early Voting Proposal | Ozarks First

The American Civil Liberties Union charges the legislature has put a misleading early voting proposal on the November ballot. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit saying the ballot language written by the General Assembly is “untrue.” The ballot language says, “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 Wednesday before the election day in all general elections.”

Missouri: Judge hears arguments in ballot summaries | Houston Herald

With absentee voting already under way for the August election, a Missouri judge is considering whether to strike down the ballot summaries prepared for voters on proposed constitutional amendments addressing gun rights and transportation taxes. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem heard arguments on lawsuits claiming that the summaries prepared by the Republican-led Legislature are insufficient because they don’t mention some aspects of the measures. The lawsuit against the transportation sales tax also challenges the official financial summary, which states that it would generate $480 million annually for the state and $54 million for local governments. If Beetem rejects the ballot summaries, he could write new ones, which could invalidate any votes already cast under the current summaries.

Missouri: Judge hears challenges to ballot measures | Maryville Daily Forum

With absentee voting already underway for the August election, a Missouri judge is considering whether to strike down the ballot summaries prepared for voters on proposed constitutional amendments addressing gun rights and transportation taxes. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem heard arguments Thursday on lawsuits claiming that the summaries prepared by the Republican-led Legislature are insufficient because they don’t mention some aspects of the measures. The lawsuit against the transportation sales tax also challenges the official financial summary, which states that it would generate $480 million annually for the state and $54 million for local governments. If Beetem rejects the ballot summaries, he could write new ones, which could invalidate any votes already cast under the current summaries. If he were to strike down the summaries without writing replacements, the measures could effectively be knocked off the ballot because the Legislature is not in session to be able to approve new wording.

Missouri: Voters to decide on early voting | El Dorado Springs Sun

Missouri voters may be facing a choice this November that could affect the integrity of the state’s elections for generations to come. The issue is that of early voting and which direction, if any, Missouri voters are going to choose to enact. Currently, the only early voting allowed in Missouri is that of absentee ballots by which voters must declare they will be out of town or otherwise unable to cast a ballot in person on election day. The Legislature passed a measure that the governor has placed on the November General Election ballot that would allow early voting with no explanation or excuse needed for six business days prior to the November General Election. This proposal would provide a means of early voting to increase voter turnout and ease election day waiting lines while not putting undue financial pressures on local election authorities.

Missouri: Early Voting Supporter Dismisses Lawmakers’ Voter Fraud Concerns | The Missourian

Some local legislators have raised concerns about voter fraud in regards to a proposal that would allow Missouri residents to vote six weeks prior to elections. But a man involved in the early voting effort said he thinks allowing people to go to the polls prior to Election Day could actually decrease the potential for fraud. More than 300,000 signatures were gathered on a petition to let voters decide whether they want to approve six weeks of early voting before elections. “I think Missouri voters are entitled to have robust, expansive early voting that will make it easier for them to have their voices heard,” said Matt Dameron of Kansas City, who was involved in the petition drive. The petition is now in the process of being certified, and the six-week early voting question could go on the November ballot.

Missouri: Lawmakers endorse early voting measure amendment | Houston Herald

An early voting measure Missouri lawmakers endorsed could wind up competing on the ballot with a more expansive version proposed through a petition drive. The constitutional amendment passed by the Legislature would allow ballots to be cast on six business days ending the Wednesday before an election. In-person ballots would be cast during the regular business hours of local election officials, who would be barred from activities or incurring expenses for early voting unless funding is included in the state budget. The measure states its provisions could not be repealed or invalidated by another constitutional amendment unless that measure specifically references them.

Missouri: Lawmakers endorse early voting measure | Associated Press

An early voting measure Missouri lawmakers endorsed Wednesday could wind up competing on the ballot with a more expansive version proposed through a petition drive. The constitutional amendment passed by the Legislature would allow ballots to be cast on six business days ending the Wednesday before an election. In-person ballots would be cast during the regular business hours of local election officials, who would be barred from activities or incurring expenses for early voting unless funding is included in the state budget. The measure states its provisions could not be repealed or invalidated by another constitutional amendment unless that measure specifically references them. The Legislature’s approval means it will appear on the November ballot unless Gov. Jay Nixon sets a different election date.

Missouri: Senate endorses early voting measure | Associated Press

Missouri voters could cast ballots during several weekdays before Election Day under an early voting measure endorsed Tuesday by the state Senate. The proposed constitutional amendment approved by senators would allow ballots to be cast on six business days ending the Wednesday before the election. In-person ballots would be cast during the regular business hours of local election officials, who could not take any action or incur expenses for early voting unless funding was included in the state budget.

Missouri: Early voting supporters say they have enough signatures | Springfield News-Leader

In the quest for early voting in Missouri, Matthew Patterson says Sunday was satisfying. About a half-hour before the 5 p.m. deadline, supporters of a ballot initiative petition to establish early voting in Missouri submitted what they said were more than 300,000 signatures contained in dozens of boxes. In order to go on the ballot, the initiative petition needs approximately 160,000 voter signatures. Patterson, the Springfield-based director of Missouri ProVote, said more than 36,000 signatures were collected in the Greene County area as part of a statewide effort. Locally, the collection effort began in mid-February and lasted until this past Friday, he said.

Missouri: Secretary of State, House Republicans argue over budget, election integrity | KSPR

Missouri’s Secretary of State is making a splash about a drop in the state budget bucket, drained by House Republicans. Jason Kander is upset with the Missouri House of Representatives vote to strip additional funding from his office’s Elections Integrity Unit. Kander started the unit last year after he was sworn in to office. “I am disappointed that Republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives are less interested in protecting the integrity of our elections than I am. I started the Elections Integrity Unit to investigate both voter fraud and voter access issues,” said Kander. The Republican-led house approved an amendment on March 25 to remove $79,900 from the budget outlined in House Bill 2012. The bill appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of statewide elected officials, the Judiciary, Office of the State Public Defender, and General Assembly. That budget includes the Secretary of State’s office, and the $79,900 Kander requested for hiring two new full-time employees (FTEs) for the Elections Integrity Unit.

Missouri: GOP wants to expand early voting — but there’s a catch | MSNBC

Missouri Republicans are working to ensure that if the state adopts early voting, it’s as limited—and inconvenient—as possible. On Wednesday, the state’s GOP-controlled House approved a measure that would ask voters to consider amending the state’s constitution to establish early voting. But under the amendment, the early voting period would last just nine days, ending a full week before Election Day, and would not include Sunday voting. In other states, Sunday voting is especially popular with African-American voters who often vote en masse after church. … But some Democrats say it’s designed to head off a Democratic-backed campaign that would put a different constitutional amendment on the ballot, allowing for six weeks of early voting, including three Saturdays and three Sundays. As such, they say, it aims to do almost as little as possible to make voting easier for working Missourians.

Missouri: House endorses early voting measures | Associated Press

The Republican-controlled Missouri House endorsed a pair of measures Wednesday that would expand early voting, though Democratic critics called it a “sham” that could circumvent a separate voting initiative that would go further. Missourians currently can cast absentee ballots under limited circumstances, including if they will be out of town on Election Day. The proposal that won first-round approval Wednesday would send a constitutional amendment to the ballot allowing early voting for nine days and ending the week before the election. Companion legislation would call for polls to be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday for four hours.

Missouri: Competing voting plans could appear on Missouri ballot | Associated Press

An early voting initiative petition is prompting a Missouri lawmaker to propose another version that could lead to voters deciding between competing plans. A House committee last week endorsed a constitutional amendment and companion legislation that would establish an early voting period. That comes as the Missouri Early Voting Fund is using professional petition circulators and volunteers to gather thousands of required signatures from registered voters in hopes of getting its proposal on this year’s ballot. The campaign treasurer for the initiative campaign is a former chief of staff for Attorney General Chris Koster. The initiative petition would allow early voting for six weeks and require that officials accommodate early voting on Saturday and Sunday for the final 21 days before federal or state elections. The proposal in the legislature calls for nine days of early voting and depends upon lawmakers to approve funding.

Missouri: Senate panel considers photo ID requirement for voters | PoliticMo

A Senate committee heard legislation Monday that would require voters to present a form of state-issued photo identification at the polls. The bill and accompanying ballot question are being sponsored by House Elections Committee Chairman Tony Dugger and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Stanley Cox, both Republicans. “As long as people aren’t eligible to vote, I don’t want them to vote,” Cox said. Similar bills have been filed in recent years in the state legislature. Still, none of the policy’s supporters said they knew of a case of voter fraud in the state. Crystal Williams, with the ACLU, said the issue has hardly ever been voter impersonation fraud, which supporters of voter ID requirements say the policy aims to prevent. “Most of time what we’ve seen has been voter registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud,” she said.