Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with Carroll County Clerk and Election Authority Peggy McGaugh:
Preparations for the upcoming November elections hit a snag earlier this week. County clerks across the state of Missouri are feeling the impact of the decision by the court of appeals to rewrite the ballot language for Constitutional Amendment 6, as ballots had already been printed when the decision was handed down and now there is no other choice but to re-print.
McGaugh explained the specifics of the ballot language change. “This is for one sentence,” said McGaugh, “The proposed constitutional amendment will now read Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting,” said McGaugh, “That verbiage after the comma is what they’ve added. In other words, what protects the counties from having to pay for early voting is what has been added.”
“Unfortunately, our printer in Springfield, Missouri is scrambling with re-doing these ballots,” said McGaugh, “They will not have them ready for us to distribute as absentees on Tuesday. I don’t want to state a date they will be ready because I want them to appear here first, so that people don’t waste a trip to town. We will get it out in the press, but it could be as much as a week from now before they’re ready.”
The cost of the re-print is also proving to be an inconvenience. “My printer stated he will have to basically start over with the programming both for the touchscreens and the paper ballots,”explained McGaugh, “Therefore, he will need to charge between 70 and 90% of the original charge. So, it has the potential of costing the county another $17,000.”
Counties across the KMZU listening area and the state are in similar situations. As of right now, the responsibility of those costs will be left to the individual counties.