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Missouri Democrats want mail-in ballot law changed, cite concerns with United States Postal Service

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Democrats say they’re calling for a simple change.

”[We’re calling] to update the laws to allow ballots postmarked by election day to be counted,” said Yinka Faleti, the Democratic Nominee for Missouri Secretary of State.

Under current law, a voter’s county clerk has to receive their mail-in ballot by 7:00 p.m. on Election Night.

That wasn’t a concern for House Minority Leader Crystal Quade in May.

”My main concern back in May when we were having this discussion was the notary piece,” said Quade, a Springfield Democrat. “I definitely don’t support making folks have to do that extra hoop for notary when they are wanting to cast that way in fear of COVID.”

Last week, it was reported the United States Postal Service sent a letter to 46 states in July. It said the postal service could not guarantee ballots would make it in time for the state’s deadline.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says his office has been stressing that since June.

”I’ve been saying, allow at least two weeks,” said Ashcroft, a Republican.

Ashcroft doesn’t support the call to change the law. He said sometimes, the ballot doesn’t even get postmarked.

”Sometimes, when they [mail carriers] pick up a mail-in ballot that someone has in their mailbox, and on their route they’re going to go past the election authority, sometimes they never even take it into the center, they just drop it off at the election authority,” Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft said the best way Missourians can guarantee their vote is to vote in person.

Quade said in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, making this change to allow mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day to be counted would guarantee Missourians aren’t disenfranchised from voting.

She’s not optimistic Governor Mike Parson will heed the Democrats call.

“Every step of the way, when the citizens have been demanding something, it is falling on deaf ears,” Quade said.

KY3/KSPR’s Andrew Havranek asked Governor Parson’s office for comment, but had not heard back by news time.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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