JEFFERSON CITY — Voters could get the chance to check their electronic ballot for accuracy before turning it in under a proposed bill.

House Bill 543, sponsored by Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, would require electronic voting machines to print out a paper ballot that could be reviewed by the voter. That paper ballot would also be available to those checking ballots during recounts.

The bill also works to phase out electronic voting machines that directly record results without producing some sort of physical copy. As the machines die out because of age or malfunction, the bill states that they would not be replaced.

The bill would make paper ballots the “official ballot” except for those submitted by electronic machines that have not yet been replaced.

Lovasco said in the hearing the bill would allow a voter to “know 100 percent that how they intended to vote is how, indeed, they voted when they turn that ballot in.”

Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, said she had talked to election authorities from St. Louis prior to hearing the bill and that St. Louis was already considering phasing out direct recording machines.

The bill would also require a manual recount of votes in at least 5 percent of all election precincts by the election authorities. Deputy Secretary of State Trish Vincent said that was already practiced and wasn’t necessary to include in a law.

Similar legislation passed the House and was debated in the Senate last year, in part over concerns about the possible hacking of voting machines.

Supervising editor is Mark Horvit.

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  • I'm a state government reporter for fall 2020. I'm studying news reporting and graduating in December. Reach me at anna.lewis@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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