Missouri: Primaries could be moved to March | The Lake News

Bills in the Missouri Legislature could change the dates of two primary elections and the logistics of running those primaries. The Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation, HB 1902, on March 13 that would set the state’s 2016 presidential primary for March 15. That bill, which passed on a 97-48 vote, has been sent to the Senate. Missouri previously held its party primary in February but faced losing some delegates to the 2016 Republican convention because of new party rules. The Republicans only want four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to hold contests in February. States that hold primaries before March 15 must also award delegates proportionally, not on a winner-take-all basis.

Missouri: Legislators Could Change the Way Missourians Vote | CBS

The Senate has endorsed legislation by Republican Senator Brian Nieves that could possibly change how Missouri voters cast their ballots. The legislation has been given first-round approval, but needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House. The law will require local election authorities to phase out the use of electronic voting machines. The touch screen method would be gone. The bill says when the current machines break, they can’t be repaired or replaced.

Missouri: Secretary of state pushing for OK for early voting | The Joplin Globe

Secretary of State Jason Kander said last week he still is hopeful that the Missouri General Assembly will consider changes in state election law that he believes would make it easier for residents to make their choices at election time. Kander for the past two sessions has lobbied for passage of measures based on recommendations from a bipartisan election commission he named soon after taking office as the state’s chief election official. Among other things, the commission recommended that the state enact an advance, or early voting, system and no-excuse absentee balloting by mail, to provide more opportunities for voters who may not be able to make it to the polls.

Missouri: House passes two voter identification bills last week | Neosho Daily News

Nationwide, state governments are considering passing or have already passed legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before voting.  Last week, the Missouri House spent considerable time debating and then passing two voter photo identification bills. House Joint Resolution 47 (HJR 47) and House Bill 1073 (HB 1073) would both require a photo ID for individuals to vote in Missouri. These two bills are now on their way to the Missouri Senate for its approval. Attempts have been made in our state to pass voter photo identification laws, and our 2006 Missouri’s General Assembly passed the first such law. It was signed by the governor, but ultimately was struck down by Missouri’s Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. Photo identification voting laws have always stirred up partisan party politics, but supporters of this measure — mostly conservative Republicans — contend that photo ID laws are common sense protection against fraudulent voting.

Missouri: Photo ID rule for voters moves closer to Missouri ballot | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The question of whether voters should have to carry a photo ID to the polls could be decided on the ballot in 2014. The Missouri House on Thursday approved measures to require photo identification, but the changes to the state’s constitution require approval by voters. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said he would like to put the issue to a vote of the people. Proponents of a requirement that voters present a photo ID or cast a provisional ballot argue it will increase the integrity of the election process. Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, sponsored the constitutional amendment. “We deserve the protection of photo identification at the moment the vote is cast,” Cox said. But opponents point out there has not been a documented case of voter impersonation fraud in Missouri in years.

Missouri: House endorses voter photo ID requirement | Associated Press

Missouri House Republicans are trying again to enact legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots, and they’re hoping the courts or the Democratic governor don’t stand in the way this time. The House gave first-round approval to measures Tuesday that could lead to a voter photo ID requirement. Previous attempts have stalled in the Senate, been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon or blocked by judges. As they have in the past, Republican supporters argued Tuesday that a photo ID requirement would protect the integrity of elections and prevent fraud at the ballot box. “Unfortunately it is a reality in life and in modern America that there is voter fraud,” said one of the measure’s sponsors, Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia.

Missouri: Supporters pressing early voting initiative in Missouri | Associated Press

Aided in part by Attorney General Chris Koster, supporters of an early-voting period in Missouri are gathering petition signatures in a quest to put the issue on the November ballot. A campaign treasurer said Monday that organizers are using a mixture of professional petition circulators and volunteers and are committed to meeting a May 4 deadline to submit the thousands of required signatures from registered voters. “If there is a spectrum of 1-10, with 10 being initiative efforts that are serious and plan to be on the ballot in 2014, we’re a 10,” said Matthew Dameron, the treasurer for the Missouri Early Voting Fund.

Missouri: Voters Would Have To Approve Photo IDs Before Details Are Worked Out | St. Louis Public Radio

Before Missouri legislators can enact any sort of photo ID requirement for voters, they first must get voter approval to change the state constitution. Until the General Assembly approves a separate resolution to place the amendment before voters, any debate over specifics doesn’t matter much. In fact, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones predicts that the proposed constitutional amendment to allow photo-ID requirements for voters will likely be the only piece of photo ID legislation to pass this year. “A wise path on this is to pass the constitutional question, for the voters to decide,’’ Jones said in a interview. “And that’s all we should likely do this year.”

Missouri: Voter ID rules pass House committee on party-line vote | Columbia Daily Tribune

The House Elections Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve two proposals requiring voters to show government-issued identification before casting ballots. The identical 8-4 votes showed that no Republicans have waivered in their support of the proposals and Democrats remained solidly against them. The votes approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to require identification and a bill to enact the requirements themselves. The committee rejected an amendment to allow college students to use their school-issued identification when they vote. The bill establishing the requirement would allow only Missouri driver’s licenses or non-driver identification cards or other state or federally issued identification that includes a photo and an expiration date. The measures now move to the Republican-dominated House for debate.

Missouri: Report: Voter-ID bill could disenfranchise 220,000 | MSNBC

A proposed voter ID bill in Missouri could disenfranchise 220,000 registered voters, according to an impact report released on Tuesday by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. The report notes that passing House Bill 1073, which introduces new limitations on acceptable types of voter identification, would make Missouri’s voter laws some of the strictest in the country, alongside Indiana and Texas. To pass the bill, the state would first have to change their constitution.  “Our state has one of the strongest voting rights provisions in the constitution anywhere in the country,” Kander explained on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry. “The Republican strategy here is to amend our state constitution to weaken the voting rights provision and then pass the most extreme version of this kind of law in the country.”

Missouri: Special, primary elections for House seat ‘tricky’ | The Rolla Daily News

Holding a special election to fill a vacant local Missouri House of Representatives seat the same day as a primary election for the same seat was described as “tricky” by a state official Monday. Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon scheduled a special election to be held Aug. 5, 2014, for the vacant House seat in the 120th Legislative District, which covers parts of Phelps and Crawford counties, as well as two other districts in the state with vacancies in the House. Aug. 5 is also the date of the primary election for county and state legislative offices in Missouri. This could result in some candidates appearing on two ballots simultaneously — one that would allow them to serve in the House for the final five months of 2014 and another that would make them their party’s nominee for a regular two-year term to begin in January.

Missouri: State likely to pass voter ID bill this year | Washington Post

Missouri could become the latest state to institute new rules requiring voters to show identification at the polls under a measure being considered by the state Senate. And after earlier versions were struck down by the state Supreme Court, Republicans believe they have fixed provisions to which the court objected. The new version of the law, which was subject to a hearing earlier this week in the state Senate, would allow voters without proper identification to receive new IDs without cost. Voters who can’t afford an identification and voters born before 1941 would be able to cast a provisional ballot under the new legislation. That the bill is originating in the Senate is significant, observers said, because the upper chamber has been the hurdle in recent years. The state House has passed voter identification legislation in each of the last seven years, but those bills have all died in the Senate.

Missouri: GOP wants to change Missouri constitution for voter ID | MSNBC

The nationwide fight over voter ID laws is heading next to the Show Me State. Missouri Republicans are working to amend their state’s constitution as part of an aggressive push to require photo identification at the polls. The GOP-controlled legislature held a hearing Monday on two voter ID bills. One would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November, which, if approved by voters, would allow for a voter ID law. The second bill, to go into effect only if the amendment passes, would impose voter ID. The two-pronged approach is needed because of a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling which found that voter ID laws violate the state constitution’s guarantee of a right to vote. A Pennsylvania judge this month struck down that state’s ID law on similar grounds.

Missouri: Senate considers voter identification laws again | Associated Press

A Missouri Senate panel heard legislation Monday that would require voters to show photo identification at polling places amid warnings from the state’s top election official that 220,000 registered voters would no longer be able to cast ballots if the measure passes. Similar measures have been passed in other states, but they have faced legal challenges. And Missouri’s previous efforts have failed in the courts. The measure’s sponsor told the Senate Elections Committee that Missouri needs to require voters to show a government-issued ID to preserve the integrity of state elections. “We need to make sure everyone’s vote counts. It should be one person, one vote and without an ID requirement we can’t make that happen,” said sponsoring Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit. Opponents contend there’s no evidence of massive voter fraud and that such measures disenfranchise voters.

Missouri: Online Voter Registration in Missouri | Northwest Missourian

As the midterm elections loom closer and closer, voter registration becomes increasingly important. Online voter registration is a recent concept in Missouri after going into effect December 20th. It was successfully pushed by Secretary of State Jason Kander in an effort to boost turnout rates, but there are some that feel it can cause issues. Beth Walker, the Nodaway County clerk and election authority, feels the idea may skew the numbers of voter turnout. “So many people register… but they are not wanting to go to the polls,” Walker said. “People are going to have to believe that their vote matters.” Another question that has been brought up is if online registration will lead to online voting. “There is a high possibility that we could see electronic voting in the near future,” Walker said. “This is in part because we have created a society to make everything easy.”

Missouri: Voting Bill Shows Need For New Election Machines, Franklin County Clerk Says | The Missourian

Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door said a voting bill in the upcoming legislative session regarding paper ballots demonstrates the need for the county’s new election equipment. There has been a push in recent years to go to paper ballots, but finding the funding has been a problem, she said. With the county’s new machines, there will now be paper ballots for all the election results, Door said. The county commission recently purchased new election machines for $414,322 after Door said the equipment was needed. Paper ballots are useful when it comes to auditing elections, officials say.

Missouri: Now you can register online in Missouri | Lake Expo

Finally, a development in Missouri that makes it easier to vote, rather than harder. Secretary of State Jason Kander on Thursday unveiled a new online tool that allows Missourians to fill out a voter registration form online through his office’s website. The new online form is at and, get this, it’s designed to make things simpler for voters. “I am committed to ensuring that all eligible Missourians have the opportunity to cast a ballot, and since you can’t vote unless you’re registered, we decided to do what we could to simplify the process and make it more convenient for voters,” Kander said.

Missouri: Another legislative session, and still no action on early voting | Kansas City Star

The 2013 session has come and gone, and Missouri still has no law allowing advance voting. According to one 2012 tally, 32 of the 50 states have a system that allows voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day. Kansas is one of those 32 states. But not Missouri, although both Democratic and Republican secretaries of state, who serve as the state’s chief elections officer, have pushed for it in the last decade.

Missouri: Secretary of State Claims Voter ID Bill One of Nation’s Strictest | Yahoo! News

new seven-page report issued by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander labels two voter ID bills as some of the strictest in the nation if they pass. Only Indiana would compare to Missouri’s voter IDlaw if the GOP-led General Assembly passes and approves the bill. The Huffington Post interviewed Kander Friday. The Democrat said even though he objects to law, he would follow its guidelines. House Bills 48 and 216 would limit the types of identification shown at polling places to just five types, all of which require a photograph to identify the person. A non-expired Missouri driver’s license, non-driver’s identification, U.S. passport, military ID or an official ID from Missouri or the federal government with a name, photo and expiration date would be allowed. The bills eschew all forms of non-photo ID currently allowed in Missouri. There are a dozen forms of identification allowed to be brought to the polls now, including a student ID, voter ID card and utility bills.

Missouri: Senate Moves To Ease Foreign Voting | Ozarks First

The legislature is moving to make it easier for Missourians overseas to vote in state elections.  The sponsoring senator is his own example. Senator Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit defended our right to vote by flying Army helicopters in Iraq and 2003 and 2004.  But when he wanted to vote, he had to start applying for his absentee ballot about nine weeks before the election.  He says he downloaded the application off the internet but then had to use regular mail to send it in-a process that took two to three weeks.  It took about that long to get the ballot  and about that long to send it in in time to be counted.

Missouri: Senate Bill Would Eliminate Electronic Voting | KMBZ

Electronic voting machines could be on their way out in Missouri. A bill before the Missouri Senate wants to go back to all-paper ballots, with the legislation’s sponsor saying there have seen numerous reports of the machines miscounting and malfunctioning. In Kansas City, Elections Board Director Shelley McThomas says most folks here already vote on paper, but it could mean problems in larger elections. “When we use our satellite absentee voting polls, when we set those up, we always use the touch-screen machines because a voter can come in from any part of the city and vote on that machine,” says McThomas.

Missouri: Senate Panel Considers Paper-Only Ballots | Associated Press

A Missouri Senate panel is considering a measure to phase out electronic voting machines. (The voting measure is SB375) The committee heard testimony Monday from some former poll workers who say the machines now used in Missouri malfunction and miscount votes. The legislation would require voters to use either paper ballots or certain ballot-marking devices to help people with disabilities. An electronic machine could still be used if it has an independent paper record of votes cast on the device.

Missouri: Early voting proposal gets bipartisan push in Missouri | St. Louis Post Dispatch

The push for in-person, early voting in Missouri is getting a bipartisan push, but it remains to be seen whether the proposal will gain enough traction to make it through the Legislature this year. Voters in nearly all of the states that surround Missouri are able to cast their ballots, in person, weeks before Election Day, without swearing to an excuse as to why they can’t vote on Election Day. Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat from Kansas City, said the fact that someone across the state border in Kansas, for example, has more time to vote than someone on the Missouri side has drawn the public’s attention to the issue. “Whether it’s Republicans, Democrats, rural voters, urban voters — everybody wants to see us get this done,” he said.

Missouri: Senate takes up voter ID bills | Springfield News-Leader

After a charged debate last month in the Missouri House of Representatives over voter photo identification, the topic is back, this time in the Senate. On Monday, the Senate Elections committee took up legislation passed by the House in February. The legislation — one bill that puts photo identification requirements to a vote of the people and another that implements the requirements if Missouri approves them — had a public hearing that was less tense than earlier discussion in the House. Both supporters and opponents acknowledged that arguments on all sides had already been aired, even as they reiterated them. “Fundamental in the whole concept of photo ID is that photo identification is sort of the basis of what we do in modern society,” Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, told the committee. Cox has been a champion in the House for a photo requirement.

Missouri: Panel says Missouri should adopt early voting | KansasCity.com

A special panel created by Secretary of State Jason Kander is recommending that Missouri allow early voting and expand absentee voting by mail. The bipartisan commission on Thursday released its recommendations for overhauling Missouri’s voting laws. Missouri now allows people to vote by mail only if they meet certain conditions, such as a disability or absence from their district on Election Day. The commission says voters should be allowed to mail their ballots without such restrictions.

Missouri: St. Charles County Council approves new voting machines | STL Today

St. Charles County voters will cast ballots in new voting machines when they go to the polls in April 2014. The County Council voted 6-1 Monday night to spend $1 million for 130 optical scan and 130 disability-capable voting machines from Unisyn Voting Solutions Inc. County Elections Director Rich Chrismer said he expects the new machines to be delivered by June and that they should last eight to 10 years. “I’m happy for the voters because I didn’t trust the machines we had,” Chrismer said Wednesday. Chrismer has been trying to convince the council for the past year that the machines used during the last seven years are at the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced to avoid trouble at the polls. The council voted 4-1 in February 2012 to buy new machines for $1.2 million, but County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed that bill because only one bid had been received, and the council later withdrew the bill.

Missouri: Photo Voter I.D. Questions Remain | CBS St. Louis

Even if photo voter I.D. legislation finally passes in the Missouri Legislature this session there may still be court challenges at the federal level. That, from professor of Constitutional Law at Washington University, Greg Magarian. Lawmakers in Jefferson City are currently working on a Voter I.D. law that would require a constitutional amendment and be approved by voters. “That would clear Missouri courts” says Professor Magarian but there would still be questions that the U.S. Supreme Court might raise. “How easy or difficult is it to get a necessary form of I.D., what findings are there about how many people this would effectively block out from voting.” said professor Magarian.

Missouri: House passes voter ID measures | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri’s Republican-controlled House has again approved legislation to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The House on Thursday advanced the photo-based ID effort with its approval of companion legislation — a bill setting up the framework for voter ID and a related constitutional amendment. The amendment would have to be approved by the state Senate and by voters in the November 2014 statewide election before the stricter identification requirements would become law. “This is a pretty common-sense proposal,” said House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka. “It protects the integrity of the voting process.” It remains to be seen how the effort — which has become a yearly issue in the House — will fare in the GOP-controlled Senate this year.

Missouri: House to Debate Voter ID Bill | KOMU.com

The Missouri House of Representatives will debate Wednesday about a bill that aims to require photo identification at all polling places in the state. 2013 is the seventh consecutive year the Missouri House has debated a voter identification bill, but Rep. Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany) said he expects the bill to pass this time. The House passed a similar bill in 2006, but the Missouri Supreme Court struck it down, calling the photo requirement “an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote.” Guernsey said the requirement would help prevent voter fraud and increase confidence in Missouri elections.

Missouri: Missouri’s voter ID bill inspires pushback over ‘voter suppression’ | KansasCity.com

Republican lawmakers are taking another swing at insisting Missouri voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. And they’re meeting fierce resistance. Leaders of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said Tuesday the Republican push aims to “disenfranchise and suppress” certain voters — the disabled, the young and minorities. “This is nothing more than a modern-day poll tax,” said Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Kansas City Democrat, referring to the tax implemented in some states in the late 19th century to shut out black voters. “Voting is a right. It’s not a privilege. They’re trying to turn it into a privilege.” Republicans reject the accusations, instead arguing a need to combat voter fraud.