Monthly Archives: May 2020
The Missouri House gave final approval to SJR38 on May 13 to ask voters to replace Clean Missouri’s redistricting reforms with a system that allows unprecedented racial and partisan gerrymandering. “Dirty Missouri” will be on the Nov. 3 ballot as Amendment 3.
Hidden in SJR38 is language that could make Missouri the only state not using total population to draw maps after the 2020 Census.
“This gerrymandering plan gives political parties more power and opens the door to a process that doesn’t count anyone under age 18 or non-citizens when drawing legislative district maps,” says LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox. “They deserve representation and services just as much as registered voters.”
The Missouri Senate approved SJR38 on Feb. 10. The House ran out of time and passed the flawed Senate language in May without changes. The deceptive ballot language stresses that Amendment 3 bans lobbyist gifts (now capped at $5) and lowers campaign contribution limits (just to Senate candidates and just by $100).
Voters approved Clean Missouri in 2018 to ensure that neither political party gets an unfair advantage when district maps are drawn. While Clean Missouri calls for fair maps, Amendment 3 would allow maps to be rigged to protect incumbent politicians. Click here for a two-minute video explaining a formula to determine if maps are gerrymandered called the Efficiency Gap.
Click to see the full news release or a fact sheet on redistricting. For more on the total population issue, see this May 22 guest column in the St. Louis Dispatch by Nancy J. Miller and Louise T. Wilkerson: Keep clean redistricting process that counts kids.
For more on protections for communities of color in Clean Missouri, see this guest column in the St. Louis American by Louise Wilkerson and John Bowman, President of the St. Louis County NAACP. Follow the Clean Missouri Coalition at Facebook.com/CleanMissouri or https://twitter.com/CleanMissouri.
The League’s Register & Vote brochure has information on Missouri’s voting laws.
This brochure has more information on voting on or before the Nov. 3 election. If you have questions about voting, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
SAFELY VOTING IN 2020 ELECTIONS
In-person absentee voting is now available at local election authorites for eligible voters in Missouri. Reasons for requesting an absentee ballot include being absent from the jurisdiction on Election Day, expect to be confined due to illness or disability or religious belief. A new reason for 2020 only opens up absentee voting for voters who are over 65 or in an at-risk category for COVID-19.
If you haven’t mailed back your absentee ballot, the League suggests that you or a close relative return it your local election authority. Mail-in ballots must be notarized and can only be returned by mail. Click here for contact information for your local election authority. Find your polling place here.
A ruling in the Priorities USA case earlier this year said election authorities cannot require voters without a photo ID to sign an affidavit to have their vote count. On the last day of session, the legislature passed SB631 which specifies that voters who are ill or at high risk of contracting COVID-19 can cast an absentee ballot without a notary; and allows all other voters in Missouri to vote by mail, with a notary. The new statute doesn’t waive the notary requirement for healthy voters under age 65.
An attempt to tighten the state’s photo ID law was withdrawn from SB 631; therefore, several non-photo IDs remain acceptable to vote. The list includes a military or student ID, current utility bill or bank statement, voter notification card from the election authority, or other government document. Voters casting a ballot in person must present a valid form of ID to vote. Voters casting ballots by mail must submit a copy of their ID if they are voting for the first time since registering in the jurisdiction.