ICYMI – Every State, Every Vote: KC Star Editorial: Will Missouri risk lives and force in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic?
Yesterday, the Kansas City Star Editorial Board urged GOP Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri legislature to implement no-excuse absentee voting for the upcoming August and November elections. The ed board said, “To do anything less will endanger voters and poll workers, who will face possible exposure to the coronavirus at the voting booth.”
Even though the CDC suggested states encourage mail-in voting, Parson refused to back vote-from-home measures, claiming that absentee ballots are “more of a political issue.” But Parson is lying – 71% of voters are in favor of no excuse vote-by-mail, including more than half of Republicans. And President Trump’s own pollsters found broad support for giving everyone the option to vote absentee.
Read the editorial below and learn how the DGA is holding Republican governors accountable for free and fair elections at EveryStateEveryVote.com.
Kansas City Star: Will Missouri risk lives and force in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic?
Missouri’s refusal to protect voters’ health and safety is a national shame that grows more outrageous by the day.
Before adjourning, Missouri lawmakers must — at an absolute minimum — enable no-excuse absentee voting for the August and November elections. To do anything less will endanger voters and poll workers, who will face possible exposure to the coronavirus at the voting booth.
Picture it: In November, when many expect COVID-19 cases to surge, hundreds of thousands of voters will be required by our state government to stand in long lines simply to cast a ballot. It’s appalling and unnecessary.
In Wisconsin, at least 67 people tested positive for the coronavirus after voting April 7. It isn’t yet known how many cases are directly related to casting ballots — voters have regular lives, after all — but even the possibility that some voters caught a potentially fatal disease from doing their civic duty should concern even the most cynical legislators here.
Count Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Gov. Mike Parson among those cynics. Neither has stepped forward to ask lawmakers to approve no-excuse absentee balloting, claiming the question is “political,” which is a patently ridiculous assertion.
A lawsuit is now in the Missouri courts, seeking to force election authorities to allow no-excuse absentee ballots this year. “So long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, voting cannot proceed as usual,” the plaintiffs say.
Nimrod Chapel, president of the Missouri NAACP, says it plainly: “This lawsuit is about saving lives.” If lawmakers fail to act, the courts will have to protect Missourians.
And the federal government could step in. In April, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and others introduced the VoteSafe Act, which would, among other things, require every state to offer early voting and no-excuse absentee voting in November. Washington would provide $5 billion to help implement the act.
“The American people deserve a comprehensive solution to ensure that voting is safe and accessible,” she said. She’s right.
But what is the price of a vote? Americans have fought and died to protect the ballot. Now those charged with overseeing it are tossing it aside for partisan reasons.
No one should fear full, free and fair elections. Missouri election authorities must do everything within their power to assure all of the above this year.