Common Cause Report Says Missouri Voter Laws Could Use Some Improvement, But Better Than Other States

A new report from Common Cause, entitle, ‘Bullies at the Ballot Box’ profiles the voter protection laws in Missouri and nine other states.
The report says Missouri’s laws could be improved by requiring the burden of proof in challenges to an individual’s right to vote be on the challenger, not the voter.
The Common Cause report looked at the voter laws in ten states, including Missouri. Others states examined in the report include the election laws in 2012 battle ground states such Colorado; Florida; North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania;and Virginia.
The report predicts there will be a vote of voter challengers in the presidential election.
“Every indication is that we will see a unprecendented use of voter challengers,” the report states in its opening.
The report says Missouri does not provide a step-by-step process for settling pre-election day challenges.
Under Missouri law, a person’s right to cast a vote can be challenged in the 10 days leading up to election day, and on the election day itself.
Some states, like Colorado, require challengers to offer ‘documentary evidence” to support their challenger to a voter.
“Missouri law should make clear the burden of proving ineligibility lies on the challenger, not the registered vote,” the report states.
As an example, the report cites a 2004 situation in Boone County where Republican poll watchers challenged a number black voters in predominantly black polling place. The report says it delayed voting at that location.
Another example was a 2008 New York Times report that reported on how some Missouri voters who were going through foreclosure had problems because of their status.
The report says Missouri does have laws on the books dealing with voter intimidation.
The laws may stem from the Kansas City machine politics of the 1930 where one election day was marred by shootings and other violence.
The state law for example, says it’s illegal to impede voting by “abduction, duress, or any fraudulent device of contrivance”
The report says the phrase “fraudulent device or contrivance”, is too vague.

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