Missouri Early Voting Period, Amendment 6 (2014)

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Amendment 6
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Missouri Constitution
Referred by:Missouri Legislature
Topic:Elections and campaigns on the ballot
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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August 5
Amendment 1 Approveda
Amendment 5 Approveda
Amendment 7 Defeatedd
Amendment 8 Defeatedd
Amendment 9 Approveda
November 4
Amendment 2
Amendment 3
Amendment 6
Amendment 10
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Local measures

The Missouri Early Voting Period, Amendment 6 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would establish a six-day long early voting period starting in 2016.[1]

The measure was sponsored in the Missouri Legislature by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-141) as House Joint Resolution 90.[2]

An initiated constitutional amendment, which would provide six weeks of early voting, including some weekends, may appear on the same ballot. If the early voting initiative joins the legislative version on the ballot and both are approved, state law provides that the measure which receives the most votes would take precedent.[3]

Text of measure

The official ballot text reads as follows:[4]

Official Ballot Title:
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 all general elections?
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.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to permit voters, in years when the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before Election Day to cast a ballot in all general elections. This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to provide all voters with a six-business day early voting period.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.[5]

Background

See also: Missouri Early Voting Initiative (2014)

The initiative version of an early voting measure was formed well before HJR 90 was put forward in the state legislature, causing some to accuse the measure of preemptive legislative tampering. On May 14, 2014, the House followed the Senate in approving House Joint Resolution 90 to allow early voting for 6 days. Democrats criticized the measure as attempting to block the initiated constitutional amendment, which would provide a more extensive early voting period. The legislative version allows for six days of early voting by mail or in-person during regular business hours, and specifically excludes weekend voting, which is included in the initiated version.[6][3]

Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs with Justice, which supported the petition effort, argued that the legislative measure would not provide relief for working people who are unable to get to the polls during the day. Additionally, the legislative version would only allow early voting in the central election authority's office, while the petition version called for larger counties to have additional locations based on population. Sen. Will Kraus (R-8) defended the legislative version by denying that it was intended to block the initiative version and saying, "We’re trying to get early voting at a reasonable cost."[3]

MO Jobs with Justice logo.jpg

Despite earlier objections, Democrats in the Senate did not filibuster HJR 90 due to a deal which exchanged Democrats allowing an abortion waiting period measure and this early voting measure to pass for Republicans not putting forward measures requiring voter photo identification or requiring public-sector unions to get annual written authorization to deduct dues or fees from paychecks. If the early voting initiative joins HJR 90 on the ballot and both are approved, state law provides that the measure which receives the most votes would take precedent.[3]

Support

Arguments

Sen. Kraus has argued that HJR 90 provides early voting at a reasonable cost.[3]

Opposition

  • Missouri Jobs with Justice

Arguments

Missouri Jobs with Justice has called the HJR 90 "a sham Early Voting bill." They have further claimed that, "It was only passed to confuse voters and undermine the citizen-led Early Voting petition."[7]

Reports and analyses

Missouri Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIII

The most effective reforms to encourage greater voter participation are not clear. Though multiple studies of various reforms have been undertaken, they often produce conflicting or unclear results. A 2013 study of early voting found that it "is actually associated with lower turnout when it is implemented by itself." The same study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, also noted that same-day voter registration "has a consistently positive effect on turnout."[8] However, earlier studies have produced conflicting results. For example, a 2007 study from Reed College found that between 1980 and 2004 early voting generally had no impact on turnout. The exception was one state that had only fully adopted such practices after 1998.[9]

This study and another from 2010 suggest that the institution of early voting may have a short-term impact on turnout while the option is novel, but after a few elections, the impact is negligible.[10][11] There are, of course, many variables within each of these types of reform. As the competing legislatively-referred constitutional amendment and initiated constitutional amendment in Missouri demonstrate, the number of days, weekday versus weekend and work versus evening hours are all potential variables, and are likely to have an impact on how much early voting will be utilized.

Path to the ballot

See also Amending the Missouri Constitution

Proposed constitutional amendments must be agreed to by a majority of the members of each chamber of the Missouri General Assembly. HJR 90 was passed by the Missouri Senate on May 12, 2014. The amendment was passed by the Missouri House on May 14, 2014.[12]

Senate vote

May 12, 2014 Senate vote

Missouri HJR 90 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 22 73.33%
No826.64%

House vote

May 14, 2014 House vote

Missouri HJR 90 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 94 62.25%
No5737.75%

See also

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