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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are advancing an early voting measure that could overlap with an initiative petition tackling the issue.
The competing proposals set up a scenario in which Missouri voters could endorse two early voting periods but see only one become law. Missouri law states that if conflicting constitutional amendments are approved at the same time, the measure that gets the largest affirmative vote takes effect.
The initiative petition would allow early voting for six weeks and require officials to accommodate early voting on Saturday and Sunday for the final 21 days before federal or state elections. The proposal in the Legislature calls for nine days of early voting and depends upon lawmakers approving funding.
Pattonville officials won't have to cut $10 million from the school district's budget after taxpayers overwhelmingly approved their first tax increase in 22 years. Preliminary figures from the St. Louis County Board of Elections indicate that more than 6,100 votes were cast Tuesday and more than 70 percent of the voters approved Proposition P.
Several other communities held elections as well Tuesday. '
Voters in Edmundson and Woodson Terrace both approved hotel sales taxes.
And it looks like the latest effort to dissolve the Village of Uplands Park has failed. That needed 60 percent approval and received just over 50 percent.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - An activist wants a federal judge to order county or state officials to run East St. Louis elections, arguing that more than 5,200 people are illegally registered to vote in the struggling southwestern Illinois city.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Matthias Hawkins filed his lawsuit earlier this month against East St. Louis' Board of Election Commissioners.
That panel conducts all elections in the city and is responsible for purging the local voter rolls of residents who have died or moved away.
The commission's executive director, Kandrise Mosby, says the panel follows Illinois law and purges the voter rolls every two years, with that latest effort expected to be completed in a month.
No hearing date on Hawkins' lawsuit has been scheduled as of Tuesday.
If voting for the MLB All-Star Game closed today, there would be no Cardinals in the starting lineup.
A redbird is in the top five for every position, but Carlos Beltran is the only player within 100,000 votes of snagging a starting role. Fan-favorite Yadier Molina is over 300,000 votes behind Giants catcher Buster Posey.
Voting is open through July 4 and the teams will be unveiled on July 7.
You can cast a ballot online by clicking here.
CHICAGO (AP) - Up and down the state, Illinois voters are electing mayors, highway commissioners and filling school boards and fire protection districts.
Tuesday's turnout is expected to be low. And it won't be helped by rain in some parts of Illinois or by the many races in which candidates are running unopposed. Still, a number of communities do have real contests, including West Chicago, where three candidates are running for mayor.
The race to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has received the most attention in the Chicago area.
Voters in some places will be asked to do more than elect candidates, including Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall and Fulton Counties, where voters will decide if they want to add a 1 percent sales tax to fund school facilities improvements.
The high court will hear arguments Monday over the legality of Arizona's voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal "Motor Voter" voter registration law that doesn't require such documentation.
This case focuses on voter registration in Arizona, which has tangled frequently with the federal government over immigration issues involving the Mexican border. But it has broader implications because four other states - Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee - have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating similar legislation, officials say.
The Obama administration is supporting challengers to the law.
If Arizona can add citizenship requirements, then "each state could impose all manner of its own supplemental requirements beyond the federal form," Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. said in court papers. "Those requirements could encompass voluminous documentary or informational demands, and could extend to any eligibility criteria beyond citizenship, such as age, residency, mental competence, or felony history."
A federal appeals court threw out the part of Arizona's Proposition 200 that added extra citizenship requirements for voter registration, but only after lower federal judges had approved it.
Arizona wants the justices to reinstate its requirement.
Kathy McKee, who led the push to get the proposition on the ballot, said voter fraud, including by illegal immigrants, continues to be a problem in Arizona. "For people to conclude there is no problem is just shallow logic," McKee said.
Opponents of Arizona's law see it as an attack on vulnerable voter groups such as minorities, immigrants and the elderly. They say Arizona's law makes registering more difficult, which is an opposite result from the intention of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. Proposition 200 "was never intended to combat voter fraud," said Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo of Phoenix. "It was intended to keep minorities from voting." With the additional state documentation requirements, Arizona will cripple the effectiveness of neighborhood and community voter registration drives, advocates say. More than 28 million Americans used the federal "Motor Voter" form to register to vote in the 2008 presidential elections, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. An Arizona victory at the high court would lead to more state voting restrictions, said Elisabeth MacNamara, the national president of the League of Women Voters. Opponents of the Arizona provision say they've counted more than 31,000 potentially legal voters in Arizona who easily could have registered before Proposition 200 but who were blocked initially by the law in the 20 months after it passed in 2004. They say about 20 percent of those thwarted were Latino. Arizona officials say they should be able to pass laws to stop illegal immigrants and other noncitizens from getting on their voting rolls. The Arizona voting law was part of a package that also denied some government benefits to illegal immigrants and required Arizonans to show identification before voting. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the voter identification provision. The denial of benefits was not challenged. Opponents "argue that Arizona should not be permitted to request evidence of citizenship when someone registers to vote, but should instead rely on the person's sworn statement that he or she is a citizen," Arizona Attorney General Thomas C. Horne said in court papers. "The fallacy in that is that someone who is willing to vote illegally will be willing to sign a false statement. What (opponents) are urging is that there should be nothing more than an honor system to assure that registered voters are citizens. That was not acceptable to the people of Arizona." The Arizona proposition was enacted into law with 55 percent of the vote. This is the second voting issue the high court is tackling this session. Last month, several justices voiced deep skepticism about whether a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that has helped millions of minorities exercise their right to vote, especially in areas of the Deep South, was still needed. This case involves laws of more recent vintage. The federal "Motor Voter" law, enacted in 1993 to expand voter registration, allows would-be voters to fill out a mail-in voter registration card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but it doesn't require them to show proof. Under Proposition 200 approved in 2004, Arizona officials require an Arizona driver's license issued after 1996, a U.S. birth certificate, a passport or other similar document, or the state will reject the federal registration application form. This requirement applies only to people who seek to register using the federal mail-in form. Arizona has its own form and an online system to register when renewing a driver's license. The court ruling did not affect proof of citizenship requirements using the state forms. State officials say more than 90 percent of those Arizonans applying to vote using the federal form will be able to simply write down their driver's license number, and all naturalized citizens simply will be able to write down their naturalization number without needed additional documents. Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, a leading Republican proponent of Proposition 200, strongly disputed claims that Arizona doesn't have voter fraud problems. "They turn a blind eye," Pearce said of the state's election officials. But Karen Osborne, elections director for Maricopa County, where nearly 60 percent of Arizona's voters live, said voter fraud is rare, and even rarer among illegal immigrants. "That just does not seem to be an issue," Osborne said of the claim that illegal immigrants are voting. "They did not want to come out of the shadows. They don't want to be involved with the government." The main legal question facing the justices is whether the federal law trumps Arizona's law. A 10-member panel of the 9th Circuit in San Francisco said it did. The appeals court issued multiple rulings in this case, with a three-judge panel initially siding with Arizona. A second panel that included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who from time to time sits on appeals courts, reversed course and blocked the registration requirement. The full court then did the same, and that decision will be reviewed by the justices in Washington. The case is 12-71, Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.
The 115 cardinals who have locked themselves inside the Sistine Chapel revealed to the world that they have failed to select a new pontiff on their first ballot — a widely expected outcome as the papal conclave got underway Tuesday afternoon.
The cardinals will return for two votes Wednesday morning and, if no white smoke billows over the Vatican, two more votes in the afternoon.
The process will continue until one of the cardinals emerges with a two-thirds majority — 77 votes.
The last nine conclaves have lasted an average of three days.
The puff of black smoke came about three hours after the cardinals locked themselves into the Sistine Chapel to be alone with their thoughts and their prayers as began the selection process for a new Pope.
The House Elections Committee held a hearing on the measure Tuesday. Republican Rep. Tim Remole, of Excello, is sponsoring the legislation. He says it will protect voting rights for registered offenders while also protecting children in schools that are designated as polling places.
No one testified in opposition to the proposal, but the Missouri Association of County Clerks says it would cost money to turn local election offices into polling places on election day.
If offenders can't make it to the clerk's office on the election day, they would be required to cast an absentee ballot.