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Lawmakers mull possibility of ending electronic voting


By Collin Reischman

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislation that would bar the use of electronic voting machines in Missouri elections was heard at the House Elections Committee hearing on Tuesday.

The bill, House Bill 773 is sponsored by Rep. Sue Entlicher, R-Bolivar, and is similar to legislation she sponsored last year. She said the desire to file the bill came from her time as a County Clerk overseeing local elections.

According to Entlicher, electronic voting machines become unreliable after little usage and voters do not trust them.

“The public is weary about these machines knowing how vulnerable they can be,” Entlicher said. “It’s always going to be more reliable if we have a paper ballot that can be counted and verified.”

Entlicher cited numerous mechanical problems, poor software functionality, and the inability to accurately audit the machines as the primary reasons for replacing them. Her bill would phase out the machines by stipulating that any county purchasing new voting equipment cannot purchase electronic voting machines.

The legislation is still in its early stages, and Entlicher admitted the bill “wasn’t perfect.” The bill could make Missouri out of compliance with federal law, which requires states to make machines available for the handicapped — machines that are often electronic.

No action was taken on the bill during the hearing.