Making Democracy Work

Early Voting Committee

Support Early Voting!

Early voting provides flexibility for people working two jobs, enrolled in school and/or caring for family members. An extended voting period allows an opportunity for election officials to address problems that surface, such as malfunctioning equipment, problems among election workers, rejected voter registrations, and other issues.

Some research says early voting is more expensive to implement. However, there may be benefits:
  • Early voting alleviates stress on the system.
  • Early voting helps to prevent errors.
  • Early voting fulfils the mandate of guaranteeing every citizen an opportunity to vote.
  • Early voting emphasizes participation in the electoral process.

    There are 37 states that allow some form of early voting. Missouri is one of only 13 states that do not allow their citizens this option. Missouri is surrounded by eight states and six of these states allow early voting: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee. The two states sharing a border with Missouri and not allowing for early voting are Kansas and Kentucky.

April 2019 Annual Report

In 2018 the St. Louis League of Women Voters completed the 2009-2010 framework for early voting initiated by the Kansas City League of Women Voters. We compared the processes and procedures with neighboring states and made note that Missouri is only one of 13 states without some form of early voting. Six of the eight states that share a border with Missouri allow early voting. Only Kansas and Kentucky share our border and do not allow for early voting.

The League advocates for change because early voting provides flexibility for citizens working two jobs, enrolled in school and/or caring for family members. An extended voting period allows an opportunity for election officials to address problems that arise, such as malfunctioning equipment, problems among election workers, rejected voter registrations, etc. In response to the concern that early voting is more expensive to implement, we submit that early voting fulfils the mandate of guaranteeing every citizen an opportunity to vote and emphasizes the importance of participating in the electoral process. Therefore, in keeping with the League's basic mandate to protect, extend and encourage the right to vote, the Missouri League is now advocating for a change in the State Law.

During this legislative year, HJR 5 was filed which modifies voter eligibility and creates a provision for early voting from the 6th Tuesday before the election until the close of regular business hours on the Monday immediately before the election for both in-person and mail-in voting. For the 21 days immediately before the election, the hours for early voting shall also include 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. On the Thursday immediately before Election Day, the hours for conducting early voting shall be 8 am to 7pm. The Secretary of State is also directed to establish a process for conducting automatic registration of eligible voters. In response to the filing of this Resolution, LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell wrote a letter to the House Speaker sharing the League's support for early voting and requesting assignment of this resolution to a committee for a hearing.

Subsequent to this action, HB994 was filed which entitles voting in advance of election, without having to state an excuse, in person or by mail for all federal or state general elections. Early voting shall be conducted from the 6th Tuesday before the election until the close of regular business hours on the Monday immediately before the election for both in-person and mail-in voting. The hours for conducting early voting shall be the regular business hours of each election authority. For the 21 days immediately before Election Day, the hours for early voting shall include from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Beginning on the Tuesday immediately before Election Day, early voting shall be available from 8 am to 7 pm.

Committee members are actively engaged in advocating in the media and to our community partners reasons to support of early voting legislation. We are also working with legislators on a final bill that fulfills the need for no-excuse early voting and an early voting period that starts at least one-week prior to Election Day. .
-- Joan Hubbard, Chair


March 2019
MO House Joint Resolution No. 5 modifies voter eligibility and creates a provision for early voting from the 6th Tuesday before the election until the close of regular business hours on the Monday immediately before the election for both in-person and mail-in voting. For the 21 days immediately before the election, the hours for early voting shall also include 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. On the Thursday immediately before election day, the hours for conducting early voting shall be 8 am to 7 pm. The Secretary of State is also directed to establish a process for conducting automatic registration of eligible voters.