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Panel says Missouri should adopt early voting

Updated: 2013-03-01T02:47:46Z

The Associated Press

— A special panel created by Secretary of State Jason Kander is recommending that Missouri allow early voting and expand absentee voting by mail.

The bipartisan commission on Thursday released its recommendations for overhauling Missouri’s voting laws.

Missouri now allows people to vote by mail only if they meet certain conditions, such as a disability or absence from their district on Election Day. The commission says voters should be allowed to mail their ballots without such restrictions.

It also recommends requiring all local election authorities to establish one location where voters can cast ballots in person beginning six weeks before Election Day. For presidential elections, highly populated areas would be required to establish an additional polling place for early voting.

The 11-member commission is made up of local election authorities, attorneys and former lawmakers.

Opening additional polling places before an election could be a financial burden for local election authorities, which is why the commission is asking the state to pick up the tab for increased early voting options.

If the commission’s proposals are enacted, Missouri will become the 33rd state to adopt some form of early voting. Kansas already has early voting.

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