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:Defeated Defeatedd
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 Approveda
Amendment 3 Defeatedd
Amendment 6 Defeatedd
Amendment 10 Approveda
EndorsementsFull text
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Local measures

The Missouri Early Voting Period, Amendment 6 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. Had it been approved, the measure would have established 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]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Missouri Amendment 6
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No985,96670.30%
Yes 416,447 29.70%

Election results via: Missouri Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot text read as follows:[3]

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.[4]

Constitutional changes

Had the measure been approved, it would have amended Article VIII of the Missouri Constitution by adding Section 11 to read as follows:[5]

Section 11. 1. Qualified voters of the state shall be entitled to vote in person or by mail in advance of the day of the general elections, but only under the following subdivisions:
(1) Qualified voters casting ballots under this section shall have been registered to vote, unless otherwise provided by law, on or before the fourth Wednesday prior to the day of the election;
(2) No qualified voter shall be required to state any reason, excuse, or explanation for casting a ballot under this section;
(3) Ballots shall be cast in person or by mail only during the six business days, not to include Saturday or Sunday, immediately prior to and including the last Wednesday prior to the election day. In-person ballots shall be cast at the local election authority during its regular business hours;
(4) Each local election authority shall appoint at least one election judge from each major political party to serve at the site of the local election authority. Procedures for appointing judges, casting ballots, and tabulating ballots shall be the same as provided by general election laws.

2. No local election authority or other public official shall, in advance of the day of the election, disclose the identity of any qualified voter who, in advance of the day of the election, has cast or has not cast a ballot, unless the qualified voter has authorized the disclosure. A qualified voter's authorization must be in writing, signed by the qualified voter, dated, and delivered to the secretary of state no later than the sixth Wednesday prior to the day of the election. An authorization is effective only for one general election.

3. If any local election authority is required by any provision of law or of this constitution to produce, in advance of the day of the election, a list of qualified voters who have already cast ballots, such list shall designate those qualified voters who have not filed a valid written authorization under subsection 2 of this section by using a random designation that does not identity those qualified voters or provide residential or other personal information from which their identities might be determined. If any such list is required to be delivered promptly after a request, the list shall be deemed to have been promptly delivered if it is delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Monday before the election day. In addition to the restrictions in this section on the provision of identifying information, any such list shall include only qualified voter information authorized to be disclosed pursuant to general election laws.

4. The secretary of state and local election authorities shall provide qualified voters mail-in ballots under this section only by mail, and only upon the written, signed, and dated request of a qualified voter. Such request shall be valid for only one general election. No qualified voter shall receive more than one mail-in ballot.

5. No local election authority or other public office shall conduct any activity or incur any expense for the purpose of allowing voting in person or by mail in advance of the general election day unless a state appropriation is made and disbursed to pay the local election authority or other public office for the increased cost or expense of the activity.

6. The provisions of this section shall be self-executing. Any law that conflicts with this section shall not be valid or enforceable. If any provision of this section is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or unconstitutionally enacted, the remaining provisions of this section shall be and remain valid. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to repeal or invalidate section 7 of article VIII of this constitution or to repeal or invalidate general laws permitting certain qualified voters to cast absentee ballots. This section shall not be repealed or invalidated by constitutional amendment, in whole or in part, unless the text of the amending provision expressly references this section or the parts thereof that are to be repealed, and no part of this section shall be repealed by implication.[4]

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 allowed for six days of early voting by mail or in-person during regular business hours, and specifically excluded weekend voting, which was included in the initiative version.[6][7]

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 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."[7]

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.[7]

Support

HJR 90 "Yes" votes

The following members of the Missouri State Legislature voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot.[8][9]

Note: A yes vote on HJR 90 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Amendment 6.

Senate

House

Arguments

Sen. Kraus argued that HJR 90 provided early voting at a reasonable cost.[7]

Campaign contributions

The following were the campaign contribution totals as of December 4, 2014.[10]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Missouri Early Voting Fund
$745,450.00
$1,003,981.40
Total $745,450.00 $1,003,981.40

Disclaimer: According to campaign finance reports published by the state of Missouri, the group, Missouri Early Voting Fund, spent more than it raised. This was possible because the group was able to accrue debt.

Top contributors:

Donor Amount
Priorities USA Action $100,000
National UAW Community Action Program (CAP) $35,000
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union $30,000

Opposition

HJR 90 "No" votes

The following members of the Missouri State Legislature voted against placing this measure on the ballot.[8][9]

Note: A no vote on HJR 90 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Amendment 6.

Senate

House

Arguments

Missouri Jobs with Justice called the HJR 90 "a sham Early Voting bill." They further claimed that, "It was only passed to confuse voters and undermine the citizen-led Early Voting petition."[14]

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 have often produced 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."[15] However, earlier studies 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.[16]

This study and another from 2010 suggested 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.[17][18] 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 demonstrated, 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.

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Missouri ballot measures, 2014

Opposition

  • The Kansas City Star said,
It would permit early voting in person or by mail for only six business days, ending on the Wednesday before the election. Polling places could not open on weekends. And voting would have to take place during regular business hours. So much for accommodating citizens who might get docked for missing work time to vote.

The amendment does nothing to encourage election authorities to offer early voting at convenient locations.

With Constitutional Amendment 6, Missouri would gain one of the most limited early voting laws in the nation. Most states allow at least two weeks, with voting opportunities on evenings and weekends.[4]

Kansas City Star, [19]

  • The St Louis Post-Dispatch said,
In Missouri this year, there’s a particularly sleazy voter suppression measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. It’s called Amendment 6. It’s disguised as an “early voting” measure, in that it would permit six extra days of voting before Election Day. However:
  • You’d have to go to your local election authority office during regular business hours to cast a vote. None of this convenient nights or weekends voting nonsense.
  • You can vote by mail on those six days, but only if you have the foresight to request a mail-in ballot ahead of time.
  • Even this lousy excuse for early voting wouldn’t be allowed unless the Legislature actually appropriated the money each election year to pay for it. Start-up costs are estimated at $2 million with another $100,000 per election in reimbursement to local election authorities. That’s clearly not enough for a state with 115 election authorities, each one needing two election judges a day for six days.

But that’s irrelevant; there’s no way a Republican Legislature is going to appropriate money for it anyway. It’s all bogus. Vote No on Amendment 6.[4]

St Louis Post-Dispatch, [20]

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.[21]

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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Suggest a link

External links

References

  1. Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 90 Bill Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
  2. Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 90 Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
  3. Missouri Secretary of State, "2014 Ballot Measures," accessed July 1, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Missouri Secretary of State, "House Joint Resolution No. 90," accessed September 17, 2014 (timed out)
  6. Missouri House of Representatives, "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 90 TRULY AGREED TO AND FINALLY PASSED," accessed June 12, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missouri lawmakers send early voting proposal to ballot," May 14, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Missouri Senate, "Journal of the Senate SECOND REGULAR SESSION SIXTY-SIXTH DAY—MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014," accessed November 1, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 [http://house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills141/jrnpdf/jrn068.pdf Missouri House of Representatives, "JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE Second Regular Session, 97th GENERAL ASSEMBLY SIXTY-EIGHTH DAY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014," accessed November 1, 2014]
  10. Missouri Ethics Commission, "C131163: Missouri Early Voting Fund ," accessed December 4, 2014
  11. The Monett Times, "County Clerk: Missouri does not need early voting," October 15, 2014
  12. Columbia Tribune, "Noren says 'no' to Amendment 6," October 6, 2014
  13. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Early voting proposal draws opposition from Missouri elections official," October 14, 2014
  14. Missouri Jobs with Justice, "Pledge to vote for REAL Early Voting," accessed June 12, 2014
  15. American Journal of Political Science, "Election Laws, Mobilization, and Turnout: The Unanticipated Consequences of Election Reform," September 9, 2013
  16. Gronke, P., Galanes-Rosenbaum, E. & Miller, P. A., Early Voting and Turnout, Portland: Reed College
  17. Giammo, J. D. (June 2010) Reducing the Costs of Participation: Are States Getting a Return on Early Voting? Political Research Quarterly, 63(2), 295-303
  18. Pew Research Center, "Study: Early voting associated with lower turnout," September 23, 2013
  19. Kansas City Star, "Vote 'no' on Missouri's sham early voting proposal," October 4, 2014
  20. St Louis Post-Dispatch, "Editorial: Say no to Missouri's bogus early-voting measure," October 16, 2014
  21. Missouri House of Representatives, "Activity History for HJR 90," accessed May 27, 2014