JEFFERSON CITY - An early-voting amendment on Missouri's November ballot would give Missourians six days prior to the November general election to cast their ballot, excluding weekends.
But the early voting would not happen unless the legislature appropriated funds to cover the costs.
Government staff estimate Amendment 6 would cost about $2 million initially and an additional $100,000 for each general election, according to the Secretary of State website.
Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, called the amendment a sham.
"This is actually a bogus early voting amendment," she said.
Newman said an earlier proposal provided for voters' actual needs, starting early voting three weeks prior to election day and allowing for weekend voting.
"There are many voters who either work shift jobs or an emergency type of job...who sometimes cannot get to the polls on that actual day and don't always have warning so they're not able to vote at all," Newman said.
But Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, said these voters already have options.
"There are reasonable accommodations that have been made," Pearce said, such as absentee voting.
Currently, Missouri law allows certain elections to be held entirely by mail and requires an excuse for absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' website.
Pearce, who voted for the joint resolution that put the amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot, called the proposal a compromise.
He said a longer voting period or allowing voting on weekends would place a "tremendous burden" on election officials, who are largely volunteers.
Pearce said that Missouri has gotten along fine without early voting.
"We've voted on Election Day since our state began," he said.
Missouri is one of 14 states without early voting.
Of the 33 states that allow early voting, the average starting time is 22 days before the election. Twelve states require early voting for at least one weekend day prior to the election.