SB 0569 Revises election laws to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002
LR Number:1857S.01I Fiscal Note:1857-01
Committee:Financial and Governmental Organization, Veterans' Affairs & Elections
Last Action:03/19/03 - SCS Voted Do Pass S Financial & Governmental Org., Journal page:
Veterans' Affairs & Elections Committee (1857S.02C)
Title:SCS SB 569
Effective Date:August 28, 2003
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 569 - The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing state compliance with HAVA, including the establishment of state-based administrative complaint procedures to remedy grievances concerning a violation of Title III of HAVA, and providing voter registration information to absent uniformed services voters regarding elections for federal office (Section 28.035).

The Governor shall appoint election commissioners who are not of the same political party as the Governor from a list submitted by the state committee of that party. The Governor may appoint additional nonvoting representatives to the Boards of Election Commissioners (Section 115.027).

The act provides that federal funds may be used for loan programs to local election authorities and allows, but does not require, local election authorities to match the federal funds (Sections 115.074, 115.076, 115.098, and 115.801). The "Election Administration Improvements Fund" is created for the purpose of improving the administration of elections in the state. A revolving loan fund is established for improving the administration of elections through loans (Section 115.078).

A statewide pool for election judges is created and requires election authorities, before appointing judges from another jurisdiction, to obtain written consent from the election authority of the jurisdiction where the prospective judges are registered to vote. Employees of the state and boards are allowed to serve as election judges (Section 115.085).

Procedures for the naming of challengers and watchers are created. Challengers and watchers must be registered voters from the jurisdiction of the election authority for which the challenger or watcher is designated (Sections 115.105 and 115.107).

Courts shall not have the authority to order a candidate or issue to be placed on the ballot less than six weeks before the date of election, except as otherwise authorized by law (Section 115.125).

This act changes the opening day for filing a declaration of candidacy for offices in political subdivisions and special districts from the 15th Tuesday before the election in April to the 16th Tuesday before the election. The act also modifies the date before which the political subdivision or special district must notify the general public of the opening filing date, the offices to be filled, the place for filing and closing filing date from the 15th Tuesday before the election to the 16th Tuesday before the election (Section 115.127).

As required by HAVA, certain information is added to the voter registration form in section 115.155. An applicant that fails to answer a question on U.S. citizenship shall be notified by the election authority and given the opportunity to complete the form. Election authorities are required to forward registration and other data to the Secretary of State in order to comply with HAVA (Section 115.157).

In order to comply with HAVA, the act creates the Missouri Voter Registration System, which is a computerized statewide voter registration list. The system shall be implemented by January 1, 2004, unless a delay is approved until January 1, 2006. The system replaces the "Centralized Voter Registration System". The Secretary of State and local election authorities shall cooperate in updating the system on a regular basis and may use the system for the collection and dissemination of election results. Information collected for the system shall not be used for commercial purposes, as defined in the act (Section 115.158).

The act modifies provisions relating to the identification requirements for persons registering by mail as mandated by HAVA (Section 115.159). Provided that certain requirements are met, an election authority may send a voter identification card to a post office box(Section 115.163). A definition for "overseas voter" is created with regard to absentee voting and procedures are created for absentee voting by uniformed and overseas voters(Sections 115.275 and 115.279). No notary shall collect a fee for notarizing a signature on an absentee ballot or voter registration. Any notary that does so is guilty of official misconduct (Section 115.283).

Election authorities may deliver absentee ballots not earlier than 10 weeks before an election. Current law allows the ballots to be delivered not earlier than six weeks (Section 115.284). The act modifies provisions relating to certain confined persons who qualify for delivery of their absentee ballots by a team appointed by the election authority. The act repeals the ability of certain relatives to deliver the absentee ballot. The act changes the color of a stamp on the ballot envelope (Section 115.287). Special write-in absentee ballots may be requested for special or primary federal elections in addition to general elections (Section 115.292). The act modifies the information that must be included on a sample ballot posted on election day, as required by HAVA (Section 115.417).

The act provides that a provisional ballot cast at the wrong polling place will not be counted as authorized by HAVA, but that voters should be directed to the correct polling place. Pursuant to HAVA, the Secretary of State shall ensure that a toll-free number or internet website for provisional voters is established. An individual who votes after a court order extends the polling hours shall cast a provisional ballot which shall be separated from other provisional ballots, in accordance with HAVA (Section 115.430).

The act corrects a reference in section 115.761 to indicate that the presidential primary is held in February. The Secretary of State is authorized to prepare fair ballot language statements on statewide measures within 20 days of receiving a statewide ballot measure. The Attorney General must approve the legal content and form of the proposed statements within 10 days (Section 116.025).

This act is similar to HB 511 (2003) and SB 136 (2003).