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).
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 fastdemocracy.com, 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.