By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS — As time runs out on a final appeal concerning a general election measure, officials are ready to send ballots to military and overseas absentee voters.
The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the summary language written by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan for Constitutional Amendment 3 would stand. The amendment will ask voters on Nov. 6 if they want to give the governor more authority in determining the makeup of the panel that nominates the state’s high court judges.
The eight plaintiffs in the case still could appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Their attorney, Eddie Greim, told Missouri Watchdog on Wednesday that “no decision has been made yet.”
Secretary of State communications director Stacie Temple said she’s not sure if there’s an absolute deadline for an appeal, “but as a practical matter they are running out of time.”
That’s because election officials have to begin preparing ballots to send to military and absentee voters. Ballots for those voting in the military or overseas must be ready by Saturday, while ballots for other absentee voters are legally due by Tuesday.
Jessica Cole, deputy clerk in McDonald County in charge of absentee voting, said she’s ready for the Saturday deadline. She noted that military personnel are able to receive ballots by email and return them via mail, which helps expedite the process.
Temple said election officials need not have all their general election ballots printed before those deadlines. They just need to have enough to meet the demand.
Cole said ballots can be sent on a different type of paper to those faraway voters. Once the ballots are returned, the county’s bipartisan election team of judges, comprised of a Democrat and Republican, can verify the legitimacy of the votes.
“After they vote, we can have the two judges transfer them to actual ballots,” she said.
Temple said this method helps ensure ballots go out and come back in time, in case of election delays such as occurred this week.
The ruling by the appeals court approved Carnahan’s certification of the general election ballot, so Constitutional Amendment 3 as currently written will appear on those ballots.