Missouri will join the 33 states that allow early voting if voters approve Amendment 6 on Tuesday. But the proposed amendment would make Missouri’s early voting laws some of the most stringent in the country. Amendment 6 would allow for six business days of early voting per general election, beginning in 2016. The early voting would occur at county clerks’ offices during normal business hours and depends on the Statehouse and governor approving extra funding for the added expenses. Voting policies vary by state, but most states, including Kansas and Illinois, offer longer early voting periods and more flexible locations and times. An earlier ballot proposal would have allowed up to six weeks of early voting in Missouri. The measure failed to garner enough signatures to appear on the ballot.
“Six days is a little bit different than a free-for-all of six weeks,” said Aaron Baker, spokesman for Missourians for Free and Fair Elections, a political action committee supporting the amendment. “Most Missourians support easier access to the ballot box in a fair and secure way. … This proposal makes that happen without giving either party an unfair advantage.”
The National Conference of State Legislators, a bipartisan nongovernmental organization, reports that across states, the average early voting period is 19 days . Kansas allows registered voters to vote in person or by mail up to 20 days before an election. Twelve states mandate early voting centers be open at least one weekend day before an election. Some, such as Illinois, leave hours up to local election officials.