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Election Bill Goes to Governor

May 12, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Punch card ballots are out...Touch screen voting machines are in under legislation Missouri lawmakers sent the governor.

Missy Shelton reports.

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It will still be up to county clerks to decide what method of voting they want to use...but lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that will give counties federal dollars if they opt to dump punch cards in favor of more modern voting systems.

The bill that's headed to the governor's desk is designed to bring Missouri into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act.

Over the next four years, the state will receive 76 million dollars from the federal government.

Republican representative Bill Deeken was a county clerk for 12 years and sponsored the bill.

He says bringing in high tech devices like touch screen voting machines will mean a lot of work for county clerks who work with many older citizens.

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The bill enjoyed widespread support from both Republicans and Democrats.

But in the House, a handful of urban democrats voted against the bill.

St Louis democrat Yaphet El-Amin says the bill goes too far in trying to reduce voter fraud.

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Specifically, El-Amin says she opposes the provision that disqualifies votes cast at the wrong precinct.

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But on the other side, bill supporters say it's necessary to throw out ballots cast at the wrong precinct to guard against voter fraud.

Bill sponsor Bill Deeken says the bill takes extra steps to ensure voters have the right to cast their ballot.

For example, he says it corrects some problems created by the motor voter law, which allows people to register to vote at places other than the county clerk's office.

He says on occasion, there would be a lag time that would prevent registration information from getting to the clerk by election day.

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The bill now goes to the governor's desk.

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