Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for May 6, 2022

Protecting the Integrity of the Ballot Box

The ability to cast one’s vote on Election Day is a fundamental part of our representative republic. An individual’s vote is their voice and their ability to choose who represents them at all levels of government. While we all come from different backgrounds, each of our voices count the same on Election Day — one person, one vote. As a result, I believe it is vital to the stability and success of our government, both in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., that we do everything we can to maintain the integrity of our elections.

As Americans, the Constitution doesn’t require us to participate in the election process, but countless individuals throughout the history of our country have fought and even died for the rights we enjoy as citizens of this nation. The right to vote is something I don’t take lightly, and I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure Missourians continue to have the ability to vote in free and fair elections. As a result, the Missouri Senate endorsed legislation to assure our elections remain transparent, reliable and secure.

House Bill 1878 makes several changes to the way our state conducts its elections. First and foremost, it requires voters to show a valid photo ID at the polling place in order to vote. It is vitally important that those who choose to participate in our elections prove their identity. As I said earlier, one person, one vote. From where I stand, this is a commonsense requirement that promotes transparency and protects against the possibility of voter fraud. The legislation also allows the secretary of state to audit the voter rolls in any municipality to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. In addition, HB 1878 eliminates the use of drop boxes to collect absentee ballots; makes it illegal for any election authority or municipality to receive or use any private funds to administer or conduct an election; and implements several other important security measures.

Overall, the public must have complete faith and confidence in our elections and their outcomes — our form of government depends on it. Through HB 1878, we are taking critical steps to protect the integrity of the ballot box and ensure our elections are transparent and secure. This legislation isn’t about giving someone an advantage on Election Day, it’s about safeguarding one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. I am proud of the work accomplished by my colleagues, and I hope the House accepts our changes to the bill and sends this important piece of legislation to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

It is an honor to serve our community in the Missouri Senate. If you have any other questions or concerns about state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at — we are honored to serve you.