Bill Would Move Missouri From Open Primary To Closed Primary Elections
By Ethan Colbert
Legislation that would significantly change how Missourians cast their ballots is facing stiff opposition from the very people who count the ballots on Election Day.
House Bill No. 922 was filed by State Representative Jered Taylor, R-Nixa. The bill seeks to move Missouri from an Open Primary state to a Closed Primary state.
In layman’s terms, if approved by both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly and signed by the Governor, Missourians would be required to designate their party affiliation on voter registration and would only be allowed to mark a ballot for that particular party during primary elections.
“We want people who have a vested interest in Republican principles to vote for Republicans,” Taylor said during a hearing earlier this month with the House’s Elections and Elected Officials Committee. “We want people with a vested interest in Democrat principles to vote for Democrats.”
Under Taylor’s proposed system, which would go into effect in 2022, voters who pick a party wouldn’t be able to change their party affiliation for at least a year after a primary election.
Voters would also be required to register their party affiliation 23 weeks prior to a primary election. Those who chose to not register an affiliation would only be able to draw an unaffiliated ballot.
A number of county clerks in the state, including many in northeast Missouri, are voicing their opposition to these proposed changes. In a recent straw poll of 56 of the state’s 114 county clerks or chief election authorities, 49 of them said they were opposed to the bill. Among those vocalizing their displeasure with the proposed changes were the following county clerks: Knox County’s Marlene Spory, Adair County’s Sandra Collop, Schuyler County’s Bree Shaw-Lawson, Shelby County’s Stephanie Bender, Boone County’s Brianna Lennon, Lincoln County’s Crystal Hall, and Pike County’s Susie Oberdahlhoff.
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