Missouri lawmaker pushing for “no excuse” absentee voting


Close-up of a voting ballot with a red pencil

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – There could be a change to the way absentee voting takes place in Missouri.  A bill that would eliminate the requirement to have an excuse to vote absentee was heard before the House Elections and Elected Officials Committee Wednesday.

State Rep. Peggy Mcgaugh (R-Carrollton) is the bill’s sponsor.  She also has extensive experience as a county clerk.  She believes the long lines at some polling places on election day could be shortened if the state eliminated the need to have an excuse to vote absentee.   Current law requires absentee voters to meet certain requirements.  One allowable excuse is if the voter expects to be out of town on election day.

St. Louis County Democratic Director of Elections Eric Fey traveled to Jefferson City to testify in favor of the bill.  

“All of our bordering states around Missouri allow some form of this and it makes election day run much more smoothly,” said Fey.

McGaugh said, “Anything that can help the election authorities with lowering the stress level and also for the voters lowering the stress level of having to get out on this one day of the year, it’s going to be a lot better.”

There are other measures being proposed in Jefferson City that would allow for early voting.  They would require an added cost of paying election judges and opening up some buildings on days when they would normally be closed.  McGaugh said her bill would avoid that extra cost.  She said no excuse absentee voters would still need to travel to their election office to cast their ballot.

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