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HB 1952 Allows voters to challenge another voter’s registration

Sponsor: Cox, Stanley (118) Proposed Effective Date: 08/28/2010

CoSponsor: Funderburk, Doug (12) ……….etal. LR Number: 4721L.01I

Last Action: 02/03/2010 – Read Second Time (H)

HB1952

Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled

Calendar: Bill currently not on a calendar

Because, of course, the word of one voter over another will always get us accurate actionable information in a timely manner without endangering the rights of anyone? Because, of course, their motives are pure?

There’s an excellent summary of classic vote caging techniques at The Campaign Legal Center:

….”Vote caging” is when a political organization, typically a political party, compiles a “caging list” of voters whose mail came back undeliverable or who did not return the receipt, and uses that list to challenge those voters as not being validly registered. The challenges can occur prior to Election Day or at the polls….

The end result?:

….What happens when a voter on a caging list is challenged at the polls?

The procedures vary state by state. The voter may end up voting a provisional ballot (which is less likely to be counted). Or a voter may be asked to prove their place of residence, by producing a utility bill for instance (though many cannot provide such documentation on the spot). In some cases, a challenged voter may get flustered, or embarrassed, and may simply leave and not vote.  I personally have seen this happen with many elderly voters.  

In any case, the voter is delayed and may be intimidated.  If the challenging of voters slows down the voting process for other voters, it can create lines and discourage those with only minutes to spare who may be trying to vote on their lunch break.  Caging lists used to challenge voters can also create confusion in the polling place, which can become extremely busy either as the polls first open or as work lets out.  Again, delays can develop and voters get frustrated and leave. Collectively, the vote caging practice has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of voters, which is its aim….

The bill, because we’ve all been made aware of widespread voter fraud in the State of Missouri?:

SECOND REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 1952

95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES COX (Sponsor), FUNDERBURK, JONES (89), SCHAAF, GRISAMORE, BIVINS, SCHAD, RUESTMAN AND GATSCHENBERGER (Co-sponsors).

4721L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

AN ACT

To amend chapter 115, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to voter registration challenges.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

           Section A. Chapter 115, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 115.142, to read as follows:

           115.142. 1. Any registered voter may challenge the registration of another voter at a hearing before the local election authority with jurisdiction over the registration of the voter being challenged.

           2. A voter desiring to challenge a registration shall file with the local election authority a sworn statement of the grounds for the challenge that:

           (1) Identifies the voter whose registration is being challenged; and

           (2) States a specific qualification for registration that the challenged voter has not met based on the personal knowledge of the voter desiring to challenge the registration.

           3. (1) (a) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, on the filing of a sworn statement alleging a ground based on residence, the local election authority shall promptly deliver to the voter whose registration is challenged a confirmation notice in accordance with paragraph (b) of this subdivision.

           (b) If the local election authority has reason to believe that a voter’s current residence is different from that indicated in the voter registration system, the local election authority shall deliver to the voter a written confirmation notice requesting confirmation of the voter’s current residence. The local election authority shall include an official confirmation notice response form with each confirmation notice delivered to a voter. The confirmation notice shall be delivered by forwardable mail to the voter’s last known address. The local election authority shall maintain a list of the confirmation notices mailed to voters, which for each notice shall include the voter’s name and the date the notice is mailed. The local election authority shall maintain and retain the list in accordance with rules prescribed by the secretary of state.

           (2) If the voter fails to submit the official confirmation notice response form to the local election authority within thirty days after the confirmation notice is mailed, the local election authority shall enter the voter’s name on a suspense list containing the name of each voter who failed to submit a response under this subsection.

           (3) The local election authority shall not deliver a confirmation notice resulting from a sworn statement filed after the seventy-fifth day before the date of the general election for state and county elections until after the date of that election. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who submits a registration application after the seventy-fifth day and before the thirtieth day before the general election for state and county elections.

           4. (1) On the filing of a sworn statement alleging a ground other than residence, the local election authority shall schedule a hearing on the challenge. The hearing procedure shall not apply to an allegation of a ground based on residence.

           (2) The local election authority shall conduct the hearing no later than the twentieth day after the date the statement is filed or on a later date requested by either party and agreed to by both parties.

           (3) A party may appear personally at the hearing to offer evidence or argument. A party may offer evidence or argument by affidavit without personally appearing if the party submits the affidavit to the local election authority before the hearing begins.

           5. The local election authority shall deliver written notice of the hearing on the challenge to each party to the controversy not later than the fifteenth day before the date of the hearing. The notice shall include the date, hour, and place set for the hearing, and a brief explanation of the right to appeal the local election authority’s decision. The notice delivered to the voter whose registration is challenged shall be accompanied by a copy of the sworn statement of the grounds for the challenge.

           6. (1) After hearing and considering the evidence or argument, the local election authority shall promptly determine the challenge and issue a decision in writing. If the local election authority determines that the voter’s registration should not be canceled, the registration shall continue in effect. If the local election authority determines that the voter’s registration should be cancelled, the local election authority shall cancel the registration on the thirty-first day after the date the local election authority’s decision is issued.

           (2) The local election authority shall retain a copy of the decision on file with the duplicate registration certificate of the voter whose registration was challenged, and shall deliver a copy to each party to the challenge.

A solution in search of a problem. Ah, I see it’s been sponsored by the usual suspects.

And what consequences are there for the individual who files a sworn statement challenging another voter’s registration which is then decided by the election authority for the challenged voter?

What do you think the effect of the notice of widespread voter challenges and hearings seventy-five days before a general election would be on voter turnout for that election?

Because, of course, voter fraud in Missouri has reached epidemic proportions:

Behind the GOP’s voter fraud hysteria

As Republicans warn of catastrophe at the polls, an expert on election fraud explains the real partisan hoax — the suppression of Democratic votes.

By Andrew Burmon

Oct. 15, 2008 |

…according to Lori Minnite, a professor of political science at Barnard College, who has spent the last eight years studying the role of fraud in U.S. elections, the Republican crusade against voter fraud is a strategic ruse. Rather than protecting the election process from voter fraud — a problem that barely exists — Minnite says the true aim of Republican efforts appears to be voter suppression across the partisan divide. According to Minnite, investigating voter fraud has become a Republican cottage industry over the last 20 years because it justifies questioning the eligibility of thousands of would-be voters — often targeting poor and minority citizens in urban areas that lean Democratic. Playing the role of vigilant watchdog gives GOP bureaucrats a pretext for obstructing the path of marginalized and first-time voters headed for the polls…

And from 2007:

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007

2006 Missouri’s election was ground zero for GOP

by Greg Gordon

WASHINGTON – Accusations about voter fraud seemed to fly from every direction in Missouri before last fall’s elections. State and national Republicans leaders fretted that dead people might vote or that some live people might vote more than once.The threat to the integrity of the election was seen as so grave that Bradley Schlozman, the acting chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and later the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, twice wielded the power of the federal government to try to protect the balloting. The Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly also stepped into action.

Now, six months after freshman Missouri Sen. Jim Talent’s defeat handed Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, disclosures in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys show that that Republican campaign to protect the balloting was not as it appeared. No significant voter fraud was ever proved….

….In a separate assessment of alleged voter fraud in Missouri, Lorraine Minnite, a Barnard College professor, found scant evidence of it. The study was undertaken for the nonpartisan policy-research group Demos, which despite its name isn’t affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Minnite, who’s writing a book on the issue of voter fraud, said successful drives to register poor people and minorities in recent years had threatened to “tip the balance of power” to Democrats, so it was understandable that the Republican Party would seek restrictions that “disproportionately hinder the opposition…”

Myths from the republican cosmology never go away, they get recycled by Missouri republicans.