Help America Vote Act
Missouri's State Plan
SEC. 254. (a) In General.--The State plan shall contain a description of each
of the following:
(3) How the State will provide for programs for voter education, election official education and training, and poll worker training which will assist the State in meeting the requirements of title III.
Education and training are the most crucial elements of a voter education plan. An informed electorate increases the probability of conducting successful elections exponentially with each knowledgeable voter. The traditional concept of voter training/education will be expanded with the implementation of HAVA in Missouri . The breath of the program will include three components, -- Voter Education, Voter Information, and Voter Participation.
The objective of the Voter Education/Information Program is to develop confidence in the election system and the outcome of elections in Missouri . It should illustrate that election officials have the information that voters and potential voters need. It should assure understanding of electoral processes and procedures, create an awareness of the election system, and develop positive attitudes towards it.
Voter Education Program -- The Voter Education Program will be a long-term program designed to educate, inform and change attitudes of voters. It will be a crucial element for election authorities changing from one system or process to another.
Currently voter education programs in Missouri are very limited and come under the purview of local election officials. The State Plan will expand, formalize and stabilize the program to ensure uniformity in information delivered to the public. A variety of methods will be used to enhance existing materials and develop tools to meet the requirements of HAVA, including:
Pamphlets containing information about voting history, the electoral college, when elections occur in Missouri, voter registration, how to cast a ballot, including a provisional ballot, a Voters' Bill of Rights, re-enfranchisement, election offenses, contact information when rights have been violated, absentee voting, voter ID requirements, post card registration, and voting options for voters with disabilities, along with other information, will be made available in the Offices of the Secretary of State (SOS) and local election officials. The information provided to the voter will include information on how to verify the votes selected by the voter and how to correct any errors before the ballot is cast and counted. Information about the availability of such pamphlets will be posted on the SOS' website.
Posters containing the above information will be developed and displayed at each polling place in conformance with HAVA. Missouri law currently meets the HAVA requirement to post sample ballots in each polling place.
Similar pamphlets will be developed and distributed to elementary and secondary schools.
Two to three minute video segments demonstrating how to cast a ballot using each type of voting equipment in the state will be developed. The videos will be distributed to local media outlets and local public libraries prior to federal, and major elections in the state and made available to the public upon request. Audio and written PSAs and/or ads may be created and distributed to newspapers and radio stations throughout Missouri . The information provided to the voter will include information on how to verify the votes selected by the voter and how to correct any errors before the ballot is cast and counted.
Election authorities upgrading to new voting equipment will be provided with a comprehensive implementation guide that contains, but is not limited to, the following components: (a) policy and legal requirements associated with the change; (b) logistics of the physical change; (c) procedural changes required; (d) personnel requirements; (e) internal training needs; (f) external training methods, including city-wide demonstrations and coordinating demonstrations with various organizations such as the NAACP and Kiwanis Clubs; (g) publicity campaigns; and (h) test elections.
- Little change is needed in the state to comply with HAVA military and overseas voting requirements. Early applications are currently accepted from this population and pending legislation will enable the state to be in compliance with reporting guidelines, distribution of ballots for the next two federal general elections, accepting Presidential designees oaths, and providing explanations for rejecting applications. The SOS and local election officials will post this information on their websites.
Second Chance Voting – To ensure uniformity throughout the State, the Secretary of State will develop education plans for each type of voting system to comply with the second chance voting requirement for over vote notification and correction. These plans will be made available to local election authorities that choose to meet the over vote notification and correction requirement through education.
Voter Information Program – In order to give full effect to the intent of HAVA and to achieve greater participation in the election process, it is essential that we have a population that receives accurate, updated and uniform information regarding their rights and responsibilities as voters. The Voter Information Program is intended to be election specific and communicated prior to each election with the following non-exclusive information:
- Election dates and times
- Registration dates
- Who is eligible to vote absentee
- Location of polling sites
- Availability of sample ballots
- Guidelines for primary elections (such as the need to select a party ballot)
- Change of address requirements for voters
- Change of name requirements for voters
The data will appear on the SOS' and local election officials' websites, in local newspapers and, when possible, on local television stations. In addition, the SOS and local election officials' websites will be equipped with audio capability to service hearing impaired voters.
Voter Participation Program -- This component is targeted specifically toward college students and is designed to teach the value or benefit of voting and why they should participate in the process. In many instances courses in government and education do not cover the election process. Through the College Poll Worker Program , title V grants will be used so that students will have the opportunity to obtain first hand knowledge of the voting process through their experiences serving as poll workers or assistants.
To ensure the success of the program, the SOS will establish a unit within the SOS office to develop, oversee and monitor the statewide program. Colleges and universities will be asked to include information about the program in their course catalogs and on their website. The program will offer a stipend to any student, in cooperation with an institution of higher learning, who is willing to (i) apply for a grant and become a spokesperson within the school, and/or to a group of schools, and (ii) maintain records and forward reports as required.
ELECTION OFFICIAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Frequent changes in legal requirements and ever evolving practices, processes and technology make it imperative that election officials throughout the state be equipped with the tools and knowledge to conduct successful elections. As the state's chief election official, the SOS has the responsibility to insure the development of a comprehensive training package for this group of administrators. This plan will be developed using state academicians, election administrators and SOS staff in association with the certification program offered by the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities. Elements of the training will include:
- A core curriculum containing historical information about elections, federal and state legal requirements, management development courses, technical aspects of elections, and the role of technology in the election process.
- Links to national, state and local election education organizations.
- An ongoing review, evaluation and revision provision.
POLL WORKER TRAINING
The most critical component of election reform is the development of a comprehensive training and education component for poll workers, who are the front line of the election process. This program must incorporate every facet of the balloting process performed at the polling place and focus on basic customer servicing skills to be effective. If funding is made available, the SOS, in conjunction with the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension program and election administrators, will develop a comprehensive statewide training program designed to develop competent poll workers including, but not limited to the following elements:
- Basic customer servicing techniques -- a necessity for a cadre of individuals who will have direct contact with over 2.5 million citizens during a presidential election. No other government function has this level of contact with citizens in such a short time span.
- Sensitivity training -- poll workers encounter a diverse citizenry on election day. The public expects positive interactions with each voter, regardless of the poll worker's background.
- Services to voters with disabilities and special needs -- only a fraction of our poll workers have been exposed to training at any level that teaches how to service this ballooning population.
- Civil rights -- poll workers may have little or no understanding of the rights of voters and what steps must be taken to protect those rights. Often voters who encounter a problem with voting are treated as having done something wrong.
- Accounting/ballot security -- ballots are, in essence, like money, since any lost vote or ballot could potentially jeopardize an election. Ballot security and tracking of ballots are essential to the conduct of accurate and fair elections.
- Polling place procedures --a step-by-step methodology for processing voters.
- Technical training -- as we move toward implementation of multiple types of equipment at polling places, training materials must reflect information on how to set up, operate, troubleshoot and maintain the equipment, in language that is easily readable and understood.
- Training for election judges who deliver absentee ballots as part of bipartisan teams,
The training program developed will also contain evaluation materials to ascertain program and poll worker effectiveness. The program developed will utilize multiple training methods such as videos, interactive internet applications, hands on and role playing techniques. Evaluation of the training program will be accomplished also by the use of surveys and questionnaires completed by poll workers after receiving the training. Voter surveys or questionnaires will be made available whereby voters will be encouraged to provide feedback on poll worker effectiveness.
mplementation of each of the aforementioned facets of The State Plan for voter education, election official education and training and poll worker training will assist the state in meeting the requirements of title III.