On Wednesday afternoon, the Show-Me Institute submitted testimony in support of HB 1234, which would reform how transportation development districts, or TDDs, are formed. Specifically, it requires that elections for TDD directors be conducted by the local election board, as opposed to being conducted via mail-in ballots overseen by the courts.
In this last streetcar election in Kansas City, residents who lived within the boundaries of the TDD were required to follow these steps in order to have their vote counted:
- Obtain and complete the official ballot request form
- Obtain proof of voter registration;
- Return the ballot request and the proof of voter registration by May 23 at 5:00 p.m.
When the ballot itself was received,
- The ballot had to be completed and placed inside a white envelope;
- That white envelope had to be placed inside a blue envelope; and signed in the presence of a notary;
- That blue envelope had to be received by the Court by 5:00 pm on August 1.
To put things in perspective, civil rights groups sued the state of Missouri simply for requiring photo identification to vote. But when the law required voters to request ballots, provide proof of registration and seek out a notary, those same groups were silent.
At least one Kansas City voter tried to play by these Byzantine rules and had his ballot discarded. According to KSHB, John Toms mailed in his ballot 5 days in advance only to have the court claim it wasn’t received on time. There was no USPS post-mark on the rejected envelope.
Multiply these burdens to voters by the 230 TDDs in Missouri that together collect an annual average of $50 million in sales taxes alone and it is clear that this is something that needs more stringent taxpayer oversight. HB 1234 is a move in the right direction.
Click below to read the entire testimony