Monthly Archives: August 2020

Court Rewrites Amendment 3

Two courts recently ruled that the ballot language proposed by legislators in SJR38 was intended to mislead voters. The court’s new language for Amendment 3 asks voters to amend the Constitution to 1) Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees; 2) Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits; and 3) Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018.

League members preferred language drafted by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Joyce that made clear that Clean Missouri capped lobbyists gifts at $5. Amendment 3 only limits campaign contributions for Senate candidates and by just $100.

Voters in every state senate district approved Clean Missouri in 2018. The measure changed the redistricting process to have a non-partisan demographer use mapping software to propose legislative district maps that would be more fair and competitive. Clean Missouri also added strong language to protect minority communities from vote dilution.

Experts say Amendment 3 would not just overturn the changes voters approved two years ago, it would allow twice the level of gerrymandering typically described as “severe.” 

Hidden in Amendment 3 is language that could make Missouri the only state not using the total population count when drawing legislative districts. Instead, maps could be based on the number of eligible voters. That would leave out 1.5 million Missouri children, as well as immigrants and international students. Click here for a study by the Brennan Center for Justice that says it would be a serious obstacle to communities of color receiving fair representation.

The fiscal note for Amendment 3 says “Individual local governmental entities expect significant decreased revenues of a total unknown amount.” Click here to read the fine print. For more information, go to cleanmissouri.org.

More Funding Needed for Safe Elections

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt held a Senate Rules & Administration Committee hearing on election funding on July 22. Republican Director of Elections for St. Louis County Rick Stream testified, “Because of the rapidly changing circumstances and our desire to communicate those changes to our voters, we are incurring unprecedented costs.”

In a guest column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Evelyn Maddox said, “In order to run a safe and fair election this November, Sen. Roy Blunt and other federal leaders must urgently invest in and implement election protection reforms across the country so all Americans have equal access to the ballot box. Voters in Missouri deserve the same voting rights and access as voters in other areas of the country. Click here to read the full text.

The HEROES Act approved by the U.S. House includes provisions to allocate $3.6 billion to expand vote-by-mail options, extend in-person early voting, ensure safe, accessible polling places, expand online and same-day registration and educate voters about their voting options for the November 2020 election.

Celebrate Women’s Vote

August 2020 marked the centennial of the final ratification of the 19th Amendment.

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Virginia Minor

At the League’s virtual celebration, author Nicole Evelina shared the story of Virginia Minor, the Missouri suffragist who wanted to vote and took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1874!

The celebration included a virtual tour of the Historical Exhibit “She Got the Vote” from the Boone County History & Culture Center. Click here for a video shared by the St. Louis League.