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Politics

Election Reform Proposals

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/electionre_1896.mp3

The November 2000 election brought to light some of the shortfalls of the country's voting system.

That spurred legislators in many states to look for ways to improve their state's system. Missouri lawmakers could not agree on an election reform package last year. And though some fear the shock of the presidential ballot re-count may have worn off, Missouri lawmakers say they're determined to approve a reform package in the upcoming legislative session. Democratic senator Steve Stoll has been meeting with other lawmakers for the past month to discuss election reform proposals. One that has gained a lot of attention and support from both democrats and republicans is the idea of provisional voting. Stoll says it would have helped with the 2000 election in St Louis where registered voters were turned away from polls because city election officials hadn't updated some of their records.

While there's bi-partisan support for provisional voting, another idea is slightly more controversial. Secretary of state matt blunt and other republicans say election officials should be able to require voters to how photo identification before voting.

Requiring photo ID would reduce voter fraud; according to republican senator Anita Veckel'she chairs the interim committee on election reform. In response to Stoll's concerns, she says the state should pay for identification for those few people who don't have any. In addition to provisional voting and requiring photo ID at the polls, lawmakers are considering early voting'supporters say that would increase voter turn out because it would allow registered voters to cast their ballots several days before election day'but opponents argue it would be too costly to have workers and facilities operational for several days before election day.

The work of the house and senate interim committees on election reform is expected to produce several pieces of legislation dealing with election reform.