Missouri Early Voting Period, Amendment 6 (2014)
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.
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.
Text of measure
The official ballot text reads as follows:
|“||Official Ballot Title:
Fair Ballot Language:
|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:
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.
- 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.
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."
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.
Sen. Kraus has argued that HJR 90 provides early voting at a reasonable cost.
- Missouri Jobs with Justice
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."
Reports and analyses
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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." 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.
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. 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.
May 12, 2014 Senate vote
|Missouri HJR 90 Senate Vote|
May 14, 2014 House vote
|Missouri HJR 90 House Vote|
- Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 90 Bill Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
- Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 90 Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missouri lawmakers send early voting proposal to ballot," May 14, 2014
- Missouri Secretary of State, "2014 Ballot Measures," accessed July 1, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Missouri Secretary of State, "House Joint Resolution No. 90," accessed September 17, 2014
- Missouri House of Representatives, "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 90 TRULY AGREED TO AND FINALLY PASSED," accessed June 12, 2014
- Missouri Jobs with Justice, "Pledge to vote for REAL Early Voting," accessed June 12, 2014
- American Journal of Political Science, "Election Laws, Mobilization, and Turnout: The Unanticipated Consequences of Election Reform," September 9, 2013
- Gronke, P., Galanes-Rosenbaum, E. & Miller, P. A., Early Voting and Turnout, Portland: Reed College
- 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
- Pew Research Center, "Study: Early voting associated with lower turnout," September 23, 2013
- Missouri House of Representatives, "Activity History for HJR 90," accessed May 27, 2014
State of Missouri
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