Voter ID among top concerns of GOP secretary of state candidates

Friday, July 20, 2012
Scott Rupp
Shane Schoeller
Bill Stouffer

Three Republican candidates in the race for Missouri secretary of state converged on Cape Girardeau on Thursday night, and at the forefront of their concerns was making sure registered voters are properly identified and elections are accurately run.

The Southeast Missouri Pachyderm Club held a forum for the candidates -- state Sens. Scott Rupp of Wentzville and Bill Stouffer of Marshall, and state Rep. Shane Schoeller of Bolivar,

"If we don't do more to make sure everybody's an eligible voter, it's going to tip the outcome of our elections," said Schoeller, who has sponsored voter identification legislation. "I believe we have to move forward on voter ID."

The candidates said they were leery of mail-in ballots.

"Voting is something special," Stouffer said. "I'm a traditionalist about voting on election day. There's nothing that says mail-in ballots increase election participation."

In addition to elections, the candidates expressed their views on challenges to making the state more pro-business as the August primary looms.

They said they want to change the way the secretary of state does business, for businesses. Stouffer, a farmer and small-business owner, said the bureaucracy involved in registering a business with the secretary of state is overwhelming.

He said Kansas has eight categories for businesses, while Missouri has 44.

"You shouldn't have to have a lawyer to determine what kind of business you're starting," Stouffer said.

He added that the secretary of state's website is complex and compounds the process.

"If you have a good business idea, you shouldn't have to cross roadblocks," Rupp said. "I want jobs here."

Rupp added that requiring businesses to fill out the same forms over again each year is wasteful.

Another issue on the minds of voters as the primary nears is the language used on ballots. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder filed a lawsuit early this month, challenging language used on November ballots by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, asking whether the governor should be able to set up health care exchanges without the consent of legislators or voters.

"State law says you have to have clear language that doesn't push people in any direction," Rupp said. "We're not going to use inflammatory language."

jgamm@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

236 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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