Creating a More Perfect Democracy

Missouri sends 20 delegates to LWVUS 53rd biennial convention

Twenty women from Missouri enjoyed Creating a More Perfect Democracy, the 2018 National Convention at the Chicago Hilton. The jam-packed schedule included extensive plenary sessions on the 2018-20 Program and Budget.

Thanks to Mary Merritt, LWV Missouri sold about $6,500 worth of merchandise. State President Kathleen Boswell dressed as a suffragist and took photos of National President Chris Carson, LWVUS Board Member Deborah Turner and many other Leaguers in front of our backdrop.

Banquet speaker Elaine Weiss, the author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote., inspired the audience with details of how Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul and others worked to get the Tennessee Legislature to adopt the 19th Amendment in 1920. Weiss is pictured in the slideshow below with Admin. Mgr. Jean Dugan.

Other delegates from Missouri were Cheryl Barnes, Donna Hoch, Evelyn Maddox and Pauline Testerman (Kansas City), Jill Young (SEMO), Meredith Donaldson and Sharon Schneeberger (Columbia),  Angie Dunlap, Debby Howard, Nancy Miller and her granddaughter Bella White, Jennifer Rushing, Sydell Shayer, Catherine Stenger and Louise Wilkerson (St. Louis), Joan Gentry and Lorraine Sandstrom (SWMO).

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Mexico to host state board meeting after spring conference in KC

The state board will meet in Mexico, MO, on July 20-21. State Chair Kathleen Boswell is working with Sharon Swon on arrangements.

Kansas City hosted a lovely and informative spring conference on May 5.  LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell presented the Rachel Farr Fitch Award to Chris Stewart from Katy Trail Health in Sedalia. The keynote speaker was retired Brigadier General Christopher King, Ph.D., who shared why climate change is a national security issue.  A luncheon panel focused on gun violence. Attorney Jean Maneke gave an update on the Missouri Sunshine Law and Anatolij Gelimson shared features of, a free bill tracking service.  Attendees could chose from three breakout Sessions: Fundraising, League Basics for Everyone or Useful Technology. The day included a raffle and a showcase for merchandise that LWVMO will sell at the national convention in Chicago.

Minimum Wage Position Approved
At the May 4 meeting, the State Board accepted as the LWVMO position a St. Louis study group’s recommendations to support raising the minimum wage to advance self-sufficiency for individuals and families.

Seven of the eight local League of Women Voters are supporting Raise Up Missouri’s initiative that is expected to be on the ballot in November, It would raise Missouri’s minimum wage to 8.60 in 2019, $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022, and $12 an hour in 2023. This increase is estimated to positively affect 23 percent of Missouri’s population.

League Wins Redistricting Advocacy Grant
LWVMO just learned it is receiving a grant from the LWVUS Ed Fund to educate voters about the need to have a better system of redistricting to ensure fairness after each U.S. Census.

Sydell Shayer, Linda McDaniel and other Missouri League members have studied the apportionment of Missouri election districts since the early 1960s. As stated in the grant application, “We have a unique opportunity in Missouri to stop political and racial gerrymandering and achieve more representative democracy.” The state League plans a statewide campaign to advocate for Section 3 of the CLEAN Missouri Initiative which is expected to be on the November ballot. It says a paid professional demographer should establish districts on the basis of total population and “take into account the rights of racial and language minorities and design districts to achieve both partisan fairness and competitiveness.”

The last week of the legislative session, Nancy Miller testified in Jefferson City against HJR100, a bill that would have undermined CLEAN MO’s redistricting changes. She stressed the LWV position that political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate standing in the case of Gill v. Whitford, a case which challenged the state of Wisconsin’s assembly map as an example of partisan gerrymandering. The court is sending this case back to the district court to give the plaintiffs a chance to demonstrate that they have suffered “concrete and particularized injuries.”

“Today’s decision is yet another delay in providing voters with the power they deserve in our democracy,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Partisan gerrymandering is distorting and undermining our representative democracy, giving politicians the power to choose their voters, instead of giving voters the power to choose their politicians. We are disappointed that the Court failed to set a standard when it comes to partisan gerrymandering.”

The League filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that partisan gerrymandering violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

League of Women Voters Condemns White Supremacists in Charlottesville
August 13, 2017
Washington, DC – League of Women Voters president Chris Carson issued the following statement following the horrific acts by white supremacists in Virginia this weekend:

“Yesterday the world watched in horror as white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia. There is no place for hatred and violence in our democracy and all leaders must condemn these acts of domestic terrorism. We must send a strong message that while the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly are some of our most cherished rights and must be protected, those rights do not extend to what we witnessed yesterday. The League of Women Voters stands in solidarity with the victims of violence in Charlottesville and against white supremacism.”

July 28, 2017

In regard to the Pence-Kobach Commission Request for Voter Information

The League of Women Voters is dedicated to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities– have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Encouraging all eligible voters to participate in our elections is the mission of the League of Women Voters since its founding almost 100 years ago. Every vote counts, and our votes make a difference.

At this time, the newly appointed Pence-Kobach Commission on Election Integrity has asked every state to provide sensitive voter roll data, including the names, addresses, dates of birth, political party affiliation, past voter history, partial social security numbers of registered voters and even criminal history. This is a violation of privacy and has ominous implications for voting rights and election integrity. The League has serious concerns about the collection of this personal information by the Commission as well the release of the information by the states. The Commission’s request for voter data should be alarming to any American who values privacy, security, or integrity of our elections.

We are concerned that the Pence-Kobach Commission is laying the groundwork for potential voter suppression by the wrongful removal of eligible voters from the rolls. It appears to be a part of a wider effort of the Commission to suppress the vote and undermine our elections by spreading falsehoods about our election system. Our democracy is stronger when more, not fewer, citizens are involved in the electoral process.

We are concerned that this effort by the Commission may lead to dangerous election policy that would limit the eligibility and right of individuals who are fully qualified to vote.

We are greatly disturbed that this Commission is undermining the public’s confidence in our elections. We’ve already seen thousands of voters around the country cancel their voter registration since the Commission’s request for personal voter information from all 50 states.

In Missouri, Secretary of State Ashcroft has publicly agreed to Mr. Kobach’s request for voter information and that the release will be consistent with Missouri law imposing conditions on what voter information can be released, for what purposes, and in what circumstances.

As we understand it, voter information includes name, address, date of birth, county, precinct and voting history (not how you voted but which elections in which you voted).
There are specific conditions in the Missouri statutes which apply to obtaining and using the information, as well as paying the required fee for any organization requesting the information.

The League of Women Voters of Missouri urges the Secretary of State to ensure that the Kobach Commission follow Missouri law in obtaining the information and using the information. For the sake of all Missourians, we expect that he will follow through with this commitment.

We encourage all Missouri voters to contact the Secretary of State’s office at (573) 751-2301 or(800) 669-8683 or by email at to express your concern.

League of Women Voters Reacts to Pence-Kobach Election Commission
07/19/2017 | by Sarah Courtney

Washington, DC – League of Women Voters president Chris Carson issued the following statement in response to the first meeting of the ‘Election Integrity’ Commission:
“This Commission is undermining the public’s confidence in our elections. We’ve already seen thousands of voters cancel their registrations since Commission vice-chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach requested personal voter information from all fifty states.

“The members of this Commission have a history of voter suppression efforts. Despite their claims of having no agenda, they have entered into this voter ‘study’ with preconceived results. This fishing expedition for voter information is intended to lead to more voter suppression – not improving our election process.

“Democracy only works when people stand up and vote. The League of Women Voters urges the American people not to be intimidated by this Commission: stay enrolled and encourage others to register to vote.

“Our elections have integrity. This Commission does not.”


Request for Voter Records

From LWV US:

LWV Statement on Kobach Request for Voter Records

League Opposes Kobach Request for Voter Records

WASHINGTON, DC- The request for voter records confirms fears of Kris Kobach continuing his tactics of voter suppression and the genesis of the Elections Integrity Commission in general. The League of Women Voters president, Chris Carson released this statement on the issue:

“There is no justification for this giant fishing expedition. The Commission itself is a distraction from the real issue of voter suppression, and that efforts to ‘investigate voter fraud’ threaten our most fundamental voting rights.

“This most recent move by Mr. Kobach is an indicator that the so-called Election ‘Integrity’ Commission is not interested in facts, but false accusations and dangerous policy recommendations.

“State laws govern the release of voter registration information, and, at a minimum, election officials must follow those laws before releasing data. The League stands with those state leaders who have already come out to support their voters and refuse these requests from Mr. Kobach and the EIC.”

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 |

Action Alert – Health Care

June 2017

From LWV-US:

Legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – called “The American Health Care Act” – is about to be up for a vote in the Senate.

“The American Health Care Act” was developed in secret and is being rushed to passage. It will rip apart our healthcare and revoke coverage for millions of Americans while raising costs for millions more.

The “American Health Care Act” is un-American. It will increase costs for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, while slashing assistance for lower-income households in obtaining coverage. It will also threaten the essential care that women need. In fact, the only real winners under this new legislation are the big interests and the wealthiest Americans. Hundreds of billions in tax breaks are included for the wealthy and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

Tell our Senators that means that there will be fewer people covered, weaker protections and higher costs for Americans.

Call today!
Senator Claire McCaskill – (202) 224-6154
Senator Roy Blunt – (202) 224-5721

Challenge to Photo Voter ID Law

LWVMO Among Groups to Challenge Missouri Photo ID Law in Court

 Jefferson City, Mo. — June 8, 2017 – Advancement Project’s National Office and The American Civil Liberties Union today sued Missouri over the state’s new photo ID law.

 The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri. The groups are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the law from being in effect during a local special election on July 11. In-person absentee voting for this election begins this Monday, June 12. An additional 52 Missouri counties go to the polls on August 8.

The request was made in part because Missouri’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, has admitted the state would be unable to implement the requirements of restrictive photo ID law in time for this election and the state has yet to allocate funds to the Secretary to implement the law.

“Missouri’s restrictive photo ID law was designed to make it harder for people to vote,” said Denise Lieberman, Co-Director of Power and Democracy at Advancement Project’s national office, and coordinator of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. “It is a gimmick that – as we’ve seen in other states – inevitably leads to blocking people from the ballot, especially people of color, young voters, seniors, women, and people with disabilities. This suppressive effect is magnified once the state fails to hold its end of the bargain. It is beyond unacceptable that the state of Missouri has launched a photo ID requirement while not sufficiently preparing, educating voters, or funding it. As a result, the burden is now falling on the backs of voters.”

“Voters were promised that this law was not about disenfranchising the most vulnerable in our state,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “The state’s lack of funding and implementation of this law tells another story.”

“States are not allowed to make an end run around voting rights by forcing burdensome changes to election law and then failing to provide the required funding for proper implementation,” said Sophia Lakin, an attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

 Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are among the states that have already been reprimanded by the courts for disastrous implementation of their voter ID laws and inadequate, confusing voter education.

The case, Missouri NAACP v. Missouri, was filed in Cole County Circuit Court.


Voter ID


June 1, 2017

Missouri’s New Photo ID Requirements

H.B. 1631 legislation, enacting Missouri’s new photo ID requirements for voting, is implemented on June 1.   


Along with the Secretary of State, county clerks, and election authorities, the League of Women Voters works to ensure every citizen has the opportunity and information to register and exercise their right to vote. For almost 100 years, the League has been, and continues to be dedicated to ensuring a free, fair and accessible electoral system for all eligible citizens. Our goal is to safeguard the rights of all qualified voters—particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, seniors, low-income, and women. 


We continue to work to make certain every eligible voter has both the opportunity and information needed to exercise their right to vote. We believe in America, democracy, and the right of all citizens to participate in their government.


League of Women Voters




Protecting Voters


Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League has worked to foster civic engagement and enhance access to the vote since our organization was founded in 1920. Over time our work has evolved from efforts to gain and foster women’s suffrage to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information they need to exercise their right to vote.


LWVMO 63rd State Convention

LWVMO 63rd State Convention
Friday, April 28- Saturday, April 29, 2017
Springfield, MO

Friday, April 28
The Convention will start on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m., followed by an early evening reception at Missouri State University’s Kenneth E. Meyer Alumni Center located in downtown Springfield and within walking distance of lots of great local eating and drinking establishments.

Saturday, April 29
Saturday’s meeting will be held at Drury University’s Trustee Science Center. This day will begin at 9:00 a.m., will include lunch, and will run until 3:00 p.m.

 Guest Speakers
Keynote Speaker—Crystal Quade
Crystal Quade is a newly elected member of the Missouri House of Representatives who has been named Vice President of the Freshman Legislative Class. 

Lindsey Baker, Missouri Budget Project
Lindsey Baker will share information from the Missouri Budget Project, an organization which  provides independent, objective research and analysis of state budget and tax issues.

Silent Auction Challenge!
The silent auction will be a bit different this year. We are asking each of the eight Missouri Leagues to put together a basket or box of goodies  that represent their area and their local businesses. 

Hotel Accommodations
The Holiday Inn Express on 1117 St. Louis St. in Springfield will have rooms reserved at a conference rate, first come first served. They have standard king or double rooms for the rate of $104. A free breakfast is included. For reservations, call (417) 862-0070. Mention “League of Women Voters” when registering. Deadline for this rate: March 29.

Registration Fee is $50. Deadline to Register: April 8.

Click here for details on the hotel, convention schedule and locations: Convention Schedule & Locations.

Click here for registration form and Delegate information: Registration Form and Delegate Information


Fall Conference

League of Women Voters of Missouri
     Fall Conference

      Saturday, November 12, 2016
9:00 a.m. (registration) to 3:00 p.m.
State Fair Community College
Heckart Science Auditorium
3201 W. 16th,

 Join us for our annual fall workshops in Sedalia. We will explore a variety of topics. Here is the agenda:

9 to 9:30 registration

9:30 to 10:30  President’s welcome and opening remarks

10:30 to 11:15  Rudi Keller Columbia Tribune State House reporter speaking on Journalism and its role in the election and the future of newspapers

11:15 to 11:30  Kathleen Boswell speaking on The Cost of Citizenship and the Trials of Immigration

11:30 to 12:00 Springfield LWV and how it grew

12:00  lunch of soup, sandwich and salads

1:00  Nick LaStrada, Pettis County Clerk, giving an overview of the elections in Missouri and the status of election equipment

2:00  Zack Hayes, chemistry professor at SFCC, telling us Everything You Need to Know About Clean Water

2:45 Wrap-up 

The registration fee, which includes breaks, lunch and information packet is $15. Registration deadline is November 7 (but you can pay at the door).

Hotel Accommodations—Sedalia

If you want to come to Sedalia on Friday, there is a block of rooms being held at the Comfort Inn Sedalia Station, 3600 West Broadway (Highway 50), Sedalia, MO 65301. Call 660-829-5959.  Room rate is $82 + tax – single or double (2 queen)

This rate is available until October 16 – so make your reservation now – you can always cancel.

LWVMO Fall Conference Registration Form
November 12, 2016  – – Sedalia, MO

Local League ______________________________________________

Names of Persons attending:



Registration fee is $15 per person. Reservation required by November 7!

Amount enclosed: _________________________________

Mail to: LWVMO, 8706 Manchester Road, Suite 104, St. Louis, MO 63144