JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – A bill aimed at securing elections in Missouri passed in an executive session through the Elections and Elected Officials Committee on Thursday afternoon.
HB 738, sponsored by Rep. Don Rone, is a combination of four separate election integrity bills that were heard in committee on Wednesday from Reps. Justin Hill, Cheri Toalson Reisch, Peggy McGaugh and Rone himself. Due to the similar nature of all four pieces of legislation, Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Shaul decided to combine the bills.
The legislation comes in response to concerns from numerous Missouri voters about the accuracy and integrity of the 2020 Presidential election. Many Missourians felt that allegations of voter fraud and misconduct were overlooked and not addressed properly.
“We need a fair and transparent voting process here in the state of Missouri,” Rone said. “Missourians need to be assured that their legislators are creating the best environment for a fair and safe election.”
The bill would modify several provisions relating to the security of Missouri’s elections. Notably, it would require individuals to show identification when registering to vote and allow the Secretary of State to audit the list of registered voters of any election authority.
The audits conducted by the Secretary of State must verify that a registered voter is alive, currently residing within the jurisdiction of election authority, and that they are legally entitled to vote.
HB 738 would also require that votes only be cast using paper ballots with certain exceptions for disabled individuals as well as repeal a measure that allowed mail in ballots during the COVID-19 crisis.
Absentee ballots would still be allowed, but would be counted after regular ballots once polls have officially closed. Absentee ballots that are mailed to an election authority must be received before polls officially close in order to be counted.
Additionally, this legislation would prohibit the changing of election laws in the 26 weeks preceding a presidential election.
“This bill would only enhance the security of our elections,” Rone said. “Voters should be able to have confidence that their voting process is fair, and that’s the main thing that we’re after.”
The bill needs to be approved by another committee next week, and then it will be considered by the full House.