Today's question: Would you support early voting in Missouri?

Saturday, October 10, 2009 | 12:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — In the next six months, there's a good chance you'll be asked to sign a petition that seeks to put early voting on the November 2010 ballot.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan approved the initiative for circulation, and state law requires the number of signatures be equivalent to 5 percent of the total number of votes cast in the 2008 governor’s election in six of Missouri’s nine congressional districts. The petition must be submitted to the secretary of state by 5 p.m. May 2, 2010.

Jo Sapp, a member of the League of Women Voters, submitted the initiative, which would allow voters to cast ballots in person prior to Election Day without being required to give a reason.

Carnahan, who has openly supported early voting, said the measure would cost the state $1.17 million in fiscal 2012. Proponents say it would make voting more accessible and convenient for many people, including those who work every day. Opponents say there are already enough measures in place to allow people to vote outside of Election Day, including absentee voting.

But if this initiative receives enough signatures by the deadline, it will be on the November 2010 ballot.

Would you support early voting if it were on the ballot?

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John Schultz October 10, 2009 | 2:52 a.m.

Including a link to the approved petition might help people review the proposal and answer this question a bit easier.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 10, 2009 | 11:32 a.m.

As of now I would not. Too many things can be revealed in the last few days of the election. A candidate could say something that I would really disagree with or something could come to surface. While I know this could happen after the election I know from personal experience the pressure is much higher become and the chance for a slip up is greater.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 10, 2009 | 11:47 a.m.

Good point Allan, that's why I would always wait for election day and go to my relatively uncrowded polling place.

(Report Comment)
Michael Sewall October 12, 2009 | 11:14 a.m.

John, thanks for suggesting the link. You can find the language of the approved petition here:

-Michael Sewall

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote October 12, 2009 | 2:39 p.m.

I think this is a good idea. Any initiative that increases voter participation is welcome. Though not a problem in Columbia, many individuals on election day have in the past faced intolerably long lines. See St. Louis in the 2000 election.
It appears to me that the current status quo makes it more difficult for blue collar workers to exercise their right to vote, compared to white collar workers who are more likely to be afforded time off and live in wealthier, less dense communities and thus have shorter wait times.
I was hopeful that the consequences of Bush v. Gore 2000, and the 7-2 ruling on the equal protection clause with respect to recounts would lead to voting reform. Specifically, I think that for Federal elections there should be one consistent voting standard, chosen by each state's legislatures. That is everyone uses the same method and waiting times are roughly the same for each voter, regardless of their socio-economic status. This initiative would address the latter point. It would also limit the effectiveness of vote fraud. Notably, voter caging and purging voter rolls could be somewhat ameliorated as challenged voters would have the time to resolve whether they are legal voters are not.

(Report Comment)

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