Jefferson City – Before this year’s session ended, Republicans in the Missouri House gave final approval to sham early voting legislation, the real purpose of which is to confuse Missouri voters in an effort to defeat a more substantive early voting proposal that is also expected to appear on the statewide ballot this year.
House Joint Resolution 90 (HJR 90) was cleared for the ballot on a 92-57 House vote after earlier passing in the Senate. Eight Republicans joined House Democrats in opposing the measure. The measure is currently slated to go on the Nov. 5 ballot for voter ratification, although Gov. Jay Nixon has the constitutional authority to put it on the Aug. 5 primary ballot if he chooses.
TRUE EARLY VOTING
Earlier this month, Missouri Jobs with Justice and its partners, including numerous union volunteers, turned in 300,000 signatures on the Early Voting ballot initiative to the Secretary of State.
The measure would expand the access to the fundamental right to vote for working Missourians, requiring six weeks of early voting, including weekends, prior to state and federal elections.
SHAM HOUSE VERSION
The early voting period proposed by HJR 90 would last just six days, excluding weekends, and would only occur if lawmakers specifically appropriate funding for early voting during a given election cycle.
DON’T BE FOOLED
To sum up, under the Early Voting initiative proposal, early voting would be mandatory; under HJR 90, it would be optional, and dependent on a specific budget appropriation.
Under the Missouri Constitution, if conflicting proposals appear on the same ballot and are both approved, the one receiving the most votes in favor prevails.
Voters should vote against the House version and in favor of the grassroots Early Voting proposal.