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Politics, Elections and Government

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 6 On Early Voting

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Ken Zirkel
/
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A constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot could give Missouri voters access to early voting for the first time.

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 6 seeks to establish a six-day early voting period statewide. The period would not include weekends or time outside of normal business hours for polling places. 

Ballot language: 

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 the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

What it means: 

Missouri's constitution would be amended to allow citizens an early voting period for mail-in and in-person ballots. Then, the Legislature would have to fund local voting authorities each year to pay for the extra time. 

Pros: 

Proponents of Amendment 6 say that the extra six days allotted through the measure would be plenty for voters to take advantage of. Missourians for Free and Fair Elections spokesman Aaron Baker told the Missouri Times that six days is much better than other initiatives that asked for 20 days of early voting time.

"Voters do not decide how they will vote in elections until a week out or less," Baker said. "[Amendment 6] is a really reasonable, smart plan to get folks easier access to the ballot box in a secure way, but also doesn't give either party an advantage."

Cons: 

The Kansas City Star's editorial board recommends that voters vote "no" on Constitutional Amendment 6. Their reasoning is that the amendment doesn't allow voting on weekends or outside of regular business hours, and that constitutional amendments are difficult to amend. 

"Constitutional Amendment 6 is a craven attempt by the state's GOP-controlled General Assembly to make it very difficult for citizens to ever have a chance to vote at convenient hours and locations in the run-up to Election Day," the Star wrote. "If this constitutional amendment passes, lawmakers will not be able to make adjustments by amending state statutes."

The Star also feels that the Legislature isn't to be trusted to fund local voting authorities, citing low state revenues.

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