JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – The Senate has endorsed legislation by Republican Senator Brian Nieves that could possibly change how Missouri voters cast their ballots.
The legislation has been given first-round approval, but needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House.
The law will require local election authorities to phase out the use of electronic voting machines. The touch screen method would be gone. The bill says when the current machines break, they can’t be repaired or replaced.
The Republican Director of Elections for St. Louis, Gary Stoff, says the city uses two types of electronic machines: a touch screen and the optical scan. Both have a paper trail inside of them. That system cost $3 million, and was paid with federal grants.
“We’ve had no issues with either voting machine that we have used and I am not aware of any particular problem that other jurisdictions in the state of Missouri have had,” Stoff says. “But if there’s a sense in the legislature that we should all gravitate to this paper ballot, then I think the state also has to provide a funding mechanism.”
Stoff tells KMOX that if legislature believes that this is the way to go, they need to figure out who will be paying for transition. He adds that some election authorities, especially this one, don’t have a lot of money available.
“If the state’s going to impose a financial obligation, then the state has to provide the funding,” says Stoff. “While, it’s an interesting concept to talk about and not sure it’s actually needed.”
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