Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rep. Jason Grill Sponsors Legislation to Ensure Fairness and Accessibility in Missouri’s Elections Process

Jefferson City – Representative Jason Grill, D-Parkville, recently introduced two pieces of legislation with the goal of ensuring the election process in Missouri is fair and easily accessible for Missouri voters. The bills are part of a larger package of legislation sponsored by Rep. Grill covering issues ranging from consumer protection to tax reform.

One piece of legislation, House Bill 771, filed by Rep. Grill would establish one-stop voting sites that allow a person to register and vote at the same time. Under the legislation, an applicant would have to fill out a voter registration application form and provide proof of residency. An applicant would vote by absentee ballot or vote on the ballot provided at the polling place if registering to vote on the day of the election. In addition, a person could choose not to vote immediately. In that case, the registration would be processed and the person could vote at a one-stop voting site or at the person's correct polling place in the same election.

“There has been an emphasis on improving voter turnout but we continue to see too few people come out to participate in the process. One-stop voting is something that has been used with success by several other states,” said Rep. Grill. “By making it easy to register and vote even on the day of the election, we can ensure more voices are heard and the will of the people is served.”

Another piece of legislation, House Bill 772, sponsored by Rep. Grill would establish procedures for listing candidates for statewide office, state senator, and state representative in random orders on the election ballot. Rep. Grill said the purpose of the bill was to ensure no candidate is given an unfair advantage by being listed first, last, or in the middle of their respective election on the ballot.

“Under this system, we would have ballots printed with an equal number listing each candidate’s name first. With this, no individual has the advantage of being listed first on each ballot simply because of different circumstances,” said Rep. Grill. “Both of these changes are common sense approaches to making our elections process even better.”

Both bills now await assignment to committee for further discussion.