Updated May 3, 2004








Show Me Ballot Integrity

Show Me Ballot Integrity


Missouri Legislature to Restore Veracity of Elections With Hand Count


By Christopher Bollyn


Missouri could be the first state to introduce legislation that would require hand-counted paper ballots and the banning of all voting machines. A bill to restore hand-counted paper ballots was introduced in the state legislature on April 20. As other states dump millions of dollars into paperless and insecure electronic voting systems, the aptly named “show me” state is considering legislation that many believe will restore integrity to elections with hand-counted paper ballots.

The first paragraph of Missouri House Bill 1744 reads:

“After Aug. 28, 2004, all elections conducted in this state shall use only paper ballots, and no voting shall be done by ballot card, electronic voting system, marking device or any machine, nor shall any vote be counted electronically or by any machine.”

The legislation would require every voter in Missouri to “be provided with a copy of the voter’s completed ballot for the voter to retain as a voting record.”

The landmark legislation, sponsored by Rep. Juanita Head Walton (D-St. Louis) and co-sponsored by Jim Whorton (D-Trenton), is the first of its kind to propose banning all vote-counting machines in the state.

“I wanted to feel secure that everyone’s vote is counted—and counted correctly,” Walton told American Free Press.

Asked if the legislation would require a hand count of the paper ballots, Walton replied: “Sure, that’s the only way.”

According to him, the only resistance to the bill has come from the office of the secretary of state, whose communications director, Spence Jackson, had this reaction to it:

“If enacted, H.B. 1774 would prevent Missouri from meeting the disabled community’s needs for accessible voting equipment. The bill would also prevent Missouri from complying with the requirements of the Help America Vote Act, which would deprive the state of thousands of dollars needed to improve the elections process.”

“It’s exactly the reverse,” responded Whorton, whose rural district is the largest in Missouri and has polling places “mostly handicapped accessible.”

In his opinion, the high cost of electronic voting machines would actually reduce the number of polling stations and make it harder for voters to vote, resulting in fewer handicapped people voting.

“The credibility issue requires a paper ballot. If you don’t have a box of ballots you don’t have a paper trail. You just have a machine that nobody trusts anyway,” he warned.