Military election filing bill a common sense move

Some people believe the order in which a candidate's name appears on a ballot makes a difference.

State Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) has sponsored legislation that would allow candidates who are serving in the armed forces or who are disabled and cannot file for office in person an option to send a proxy in their absence.

Wallingford served in the Air Force and retired as a colonel. He told the Southeast Missourian he wanted those serving to have the same opportunities as others who file for office.

"It is possible that the order names are on the ballot can change things by up to a couple percent of the vote," he said. "I don't want someone to not get the votes they should because they are finishing a tour of duty or for another reason can't get to a drawing."

Secretary of State Jason Kander supports the change. Kander served as a captain in the U.S. Army. As secretary of state he oversees elections in Missouri. He called the effort a simple fix.

Kander's office sent an email to the Southeast Missourian on Friday that said the House Elections Committee will have a hearing on the bill at 1:30 p.m. today. A vote is scheduled after the hearing.

In addition to this legislation, Wallingford has filed a bill that would let military and overseas voters register to vote after the deadline. This would give these voters a few additional days to register.

The General Assembly will deal with tough issues this session. There will be debates about policy. But this legislation appears to be a common sense change. Those who serve in the military deserve our respect, and for them to want to continue serving the public through elected office is admirable.

We applaud Wallingford and other supporters for bringing the issue to light.