County Clerk: Missouri does not need early voting

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fitzpatrick, Youngblood oppose Amendment 6

Amendment 6, which is based on House Joint Resolution 90, wants to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow early voting on six business days before each election.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Gary Youngblood, Barry County clerk. "The current voting system works fine. If you cannot make it to the polls, why have the taxpayers pay for the costs to

implement the changes."

The estimated startup costs would be $2 million, according to the ballot measure. The reimbursement costs to local election authorities would be at least $100,000 per election.

"Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election," the ballot measure says. "Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing and planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown."

The House passed the joint resolution, by a vote of 92-57, on May 14 that put the measure on the ballot. The Senate passed a substitute, by a vote of 22-8, on May 12. Timothy Jones, House Speaker, and Tom Dempsey, Senate president pro tempore, signed the resolution on May 30.

"When I voted to put this on the ballot, I did that because the information that we had at the time

indicated that there was going to be another proposal that was then written by the [Missouri Early Voting Fund], and that they had enough signatures to get it on the ballot," said State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob. "So, I voted yes to put this on the ballot because I thought this would be a better alternative to the one that the Early Voting Fund was sponsoring."

He wanted the resolution to get more votes on the ballot than the Early Voting Fund initiative, Fitzpatrick said. If two similar measures simultaneously get on the ballot and both pass, then the measure with the most votes takes effect. Since the Early Voting Fund did not validate a lot of the signatures, its early voting initiative is not on the ballot anymore.

As a voter, Fitzpatrick said he will be voting against the early voting ballot measure in November.

"I personally don't think we need early voting," he said. "We have absentee voting, and there are plenty of opportunities to people, who want to vote, to go to vote. I don't think there are any impediments to that."

Absentee voting starts six Tuesdays before election, and it ends the day before election. Before the Nov. 4 general election, the county clerk's office will stay open from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 1 for absentee voters.

If Missouri voters approve the ballot measure, the changes would start during the 2016 general election.

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