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Voting by mail? Missourian looks to take the matter to voters through initiative petition


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One Missourian is looking to give voters the ability to cast a ballot from the comfort of their own home.

The most recent initiative petition proposed by Gerald Peterson is just one of three filed with the Secretary of State’s Office in this week. The others include changes to personal property taxes and the initiative petition process itself.

In total 30 petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. Three have been withdrawn, 11 have been rejected, and 16 are accepting comments. To date, no propose initiative petition has been approved for circulation.

Petition 2020-028 — the eight proposed initiative petition filed by Peterson — is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require each registered voter automatically be issued a mail ballot for every general election, special election, and primary election.

Rik Combs has filed Petition 2020-29 seeking to amend Article X of the Missouri Constitution. The petition reads, “the state, counties, and all other political subdivisions are hereby prevented from imposing or collecting any tax on personal property other than sales tax with may be collected at the time the property is first purchased.”

Petition 2020-30, the seventh initiative petition filed by Damien Johnson, seeks to amend the initiative petition process. The propose petition is similar to ones previously filed by Johnson that be been rejected or withdrawn.

Before circulating petitions for signatures, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State’s Office. The office then has 23 days after the formation of the petition is approved to draft ballot summary language.

Comments will be taken pursuant to Section 116.334, RSMo. This provision allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online, by mail or phone. Missourians can provide their comments online. The Secretary of State’s Office will review all comments submitted. The proposed changes would allow for electronic signatures to be collected.

The office received 371 petitions in the 2018 cycle, which began the day after the November 2016 election. Of those, one referendum appeared on the August 7 ballot and five ballot measures appeared on the November 6 ballot. Only three initiative petitions in total passed — ethics overhaul, minimum wage hike, and one medical marijuana measure.

More about the initiative petition process can be found on Secretary of State’s webpage.

This article is part of a periodic update on the initiative petition process. Other stories in the series can be found here