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Missourians Taking Advantage Of New Online Voter Registration Tool

(Mo. Sec. Of State website)

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander reports that 193 people had signed up in the first 24 hours after his office launched a new online voter-registration service.

The online tool, unveiled Thursday, allows Missouri residents to fill out a voter registration form online at the secretary of state’s website,  www.sos.mo.gov/votemissouri.

The staff would, in turn, print out the completed form, check for any suspected irregularities and then forward the completed document to the correct city or county for final processing.

Before the change, voters could print out a voter registration form from the secretary of state’s site, but then they would have to mail the document to the appropriate jurisdiction.  The new procedure puts the state staff in charge of seeing that the registration ends up in the right place.

“The only thing that’s changed is the experience for the voters,’’ said Kander in a telephone interview Friday.

“I’m committed to making the voting process in Missouri as accessible and efficient as possible,’’ Kander said. “Everyone we’ve talked to, so far, has been pleased….People look at this and say, ‘This just makes sense.’ ”

The new online setup also would allow current registered voters to change their address online. That change also would be forwarded by Kander’s staff to the correct local agency or government.

Kander, a Democrat, emphasized that at least 15 other states, including Indiana and Kansas (both with Republican governors), already have some sort of online registration process similar to what his office has developed.

“From our perspective, it doesn’t change the process. It improves the level of convenience,” he added. “We’re bringing the voter registration process into the 21st century.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.