New Missouri voting laws to take effect prior to mid-term elections

JACKSON, Mo. (KBSI) – On Wednesday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed five pieces of legislation into law, including a bill that modifies Missouri’s election laws.

House Bill 1878 goes into effect August 28. Governor Parson said it will strengthen the election process and voter confidence.

Across the state, voters will now be required to show a photo ID to cast their ballot.

Even with this change, Cape Girardeau County Election Supervisor Allen Seabaugh said there are still options for everyone to ensure their vote counts.

“There is an option for everyone to be able to vote,” he said. “If someone does not have their photo ID, they will be able to cast a provisional ballot, and then we can either verify their signature with their voter registration record, or they can come back later and present a photo ID if they have one on Election Day. So the options are still there for people to be able to cast their ballot and to be able to make their vote count.”

The bill also eliminates the need for voters to provide an excuse to fill out an absentee ballot. They can now submit an absentee ballot at the local election authority beginning two weeks prior to the election.

“Those people who may have wanted to come in and cast their ballot because maybe they had a scheduled surgery on Election Day, or they weren’t for sure if they were going to be able to be out of town or not, and they didn’t want to lie that they were going to be out of town,” Cape Girardeau County Clerk Kara Clark Summers said. “Those people two weeks prior now can come in and cast an absentee ballot without an excuse.”

Healthcare workers, first responders and law enforcement are now included amongst those who can submit absentee ballots.

“A lot of healthcare workers, first responders and law enforcement had long shifts and they might not have been able to cast an absentee ballot,” Summers said. “Now they are allowed by law to do so.”

Seabaugh said making sure everyone is up to speed will be a top priority.

“The biggest change for us is just trying to make sure our staff knows the changes, that our election judges know the changes, and then trying to get those out to voters so that they can understand what to expect when they vote,” Seabaugh said.

This bill also prohibits the use of ballot drop boxes and electronic vote counting machines, and prevents local election authorities from accepting private donations.

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