Missouri Democrats are worried -- about Kansas.
They fear messages bleeding over the border will scare some of their voters away from the polls. In particular, they're nervous about a highly visible advertising campaign telling Kansans they'll need a picture ID to cast their ballots this year.
Pictures aren't required to vote in Missouri, in part because Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a photo ID law last year.
But Missouri Democratic officials fear many voters, particularly the elderly and poor without photo ID, may see the Kansas-based ads and misunderstand the rules. So they're issuing press releases and calling news conferences to remind Missouri voters they don't need a photo ID.
"Every election cycle there are mail pieces, TV ads, radio ads that are misleading," state party chairman and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said this week. "We want to make sure we get ahead of the curve this year, so that nobody has any confusion about what it's going to take to cast a ballot in the state of Missouri."
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, also a Democrat, issued a similar statement last week.
Democrats say their concerns developed after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican and key supporter of picture ID requirements, launched a media campaign informing Kansas voters of the new rules. Ads and a website, paid for by a $300,000 federal grant, outline the new rules for the state's voters, who face the photo requirement for the first time.
Kobach said he had no intention of influencing Missouri's election.
"All of our ads mention Kansas, some multiple times," Kobach said. "I think it would be highly unlikely that a Missouri viewer would mistake any of our ads as a reference to Missouri."
Missouri's Republicans say their Democratic counterparts are too worried about the problem. Missourians, they said, should be more concerned with the lack of photo ID in the state.
"Our entire GOP statewide ticket ... supports a photo identification requirement to vote, as do a vast majority of Missourians," said party chairman Lloyd Smith in an email.
The battle over voter rules has been less prominent in Missouri this year because the state isn't considered a presidential battleground. But lower-than-usual turnout could hurt Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrats said, in urban areas like Kansas City and St. Louis where her support is thought to be strongest. Still, the state is expecting nearly three out of four registered voters to cast ballots.
Similar concerns about voter ID, voter access and the threat of voter fraud are now a regular feature of the election season, particularly in presidential election years.
This year has been no exception.
U.S. attorneys in both Kansas and Missouri have issued press releases promising to monitor voter access and compliance Tuesday. Lawyers for both major political parties say they'll be ready to respond to ballot access challenges at the polls, and to keep a close eye on vote tabulation in what's expected to be a close presidential race.
"The more observers we have making sure that this is a free and fair election, the better off we will be," said Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd, who is a member of a group called Lawyers for Romney.
The AFL-CIO has announced a voter protection effort for Tuesday. The Republican National Lawyers Association will monitor the election, and a group called the Election Protection Coalition is offering a hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) for complaints and questions about voter access.
The American Civil Liberties Union is watching as well.
"We're very concerned about what we see as attempts at voter suppression," said Gray Brunk, executive director of the ACLU chapter in Kansas and western Missouri.
But with time until the election now measured in hours, pitched arguments over voter fraud and ballot access seem more subdued than in previous elections, in part because political battles over the ballot were actually fought months ago.
Forty-one states considered voter restrictions over the past two years, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University law school. Less than half -- including Kansas -- passed such laws.
And since then, judges have turned back many of the new restrictions, and not just on photo ID.
In Ohio, for example, a federal judge said counties that allow early voting this weekend for members of the military have to offer it to all voters. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, setting up the possibility of heavy early-voter turnout this weekend in the key swing state.
Judges also postponed tougher voter laws in Texas and Pennsylvania, although the requirements may be brought back for later elections. Missouri courts blocked an amendment on photo ID from appearing on this year's ballot, and in 2006 the state Supreme Court said photo ID laws were unconstitutional.
"Nearly all the worst new laws to cut back on voting have been blocked, blunted, repealed, or postponed," claimed the Brennan Center in its report. "As a result ... for the overwhelming majority of those whose rights were most at risk, the ability to vote will not be at issue on November 6th."
Kobach said the judicial setbacks have been limited and based on state constitutions, not the federal one.
"It's just one victory after another for photo ID," he said. "You might have a state with its new law delayed to a certain extent, but the court decisions are pretty clear."
Hans von Spakovsky, a controversial voters' rights advocate and senior legal fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said he hopes the results Tuesday don't turn on questions of who was qualified to vote -- and who wasn't.
"I hope whoever wins," he said in an email, "does so with a sufficient margin of victory to avoid such fights or questions over the legitimacy of the outcome."