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Schupp calls for special session to address election concerns

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A new special session is needed to expand voting options in November amid growing concerns about U.S. Postal Service delays, Sen. Jill Schupp said Thursday. 

Schupp, a congressional candidate in MO-02, urged her colleagues to sign a petition calling for a special legislative session to take up a variety of election proposals, including allowing absentee or mail-in ballots to be counted if postmarked on or before Election Day. 

Schupp also suggested allowing mail-in ballots to be returned to a voter’s local election authority in person, allowing no-excuse absentee voting for all voters, and repealing an existing law requiring certain voters to have mail-in or absentee ballots notarized. 

“Every ballot properly cast should be properly counted,” Schupp said. “Unfortunately, under current law, Missouri ballots properly cast may not be counted if they are delayed in the mail. This delay takes away a person’s right to vote, even though that voter did nothing wrong.” 

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to fix this issue before it disenfranchises tens of thousands of Missouri voters,” she continued. “There is still time, but we must act now.” 

Former 2020 presidential contender Marianne Williamson weighed in on the proposal on social media: “We need this everywhere.”

Schupp’s petition comes on the heels of a similar call made by Rep. Kip Kendrick earlier this month. The Columbia Democrat called lawmakers to ensure properly postmarked ballots would be counted in the upcoming election through a special session. 

“For several reasons, it is imperative that we do all that we can do to uphold the integrity of the election process in Missouri,” Kendrick said. 

Missouri law dictates ballots must be delivered to local election authorities by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted — and mail-in ballots cannot be hand-delivered. In July, Postal Service general counsel Thomas Marshall warned of a potential delay in ballots arriving at election authorities. 

Without intervention, the delay could render many otherwise eligible ballots invalid, lawmakers argued. 

The Missouri Legislature is in the midst of an extraordinary session called by the governor to address violent crime across the state. The House passed a series of anti-crime legislation earlier this week for the Senate to take up. One particular provision — creating a pretrial witness protection fund — is expected to draw legislators back to Jefferson City for an additional special session for appropriations. However, that is under consideration to be held during the upcoming veto session. 

The special session petition requires in-person signatures.

This story has been updated with Marianne Williamson’s comments. It was originally published on Aug. 27.