Author Archives: lwvcbc

Redistricting Process Must Be Transparent

The Census is expected to release statewide data on April 30, but more detailed population data for drawing new maps for legislative districts won’t be released until Sept. 30. As legislative redistricting proceeds, League members across the state are actively working for fair maps and a transparent redistricting process. Almost 100 members across the state participated in a Fair Maps Zoom on Feb. 21. Click here for LWVMO’s Fair Maps resource page.

A committee headed by Sharon Schneeberger of Columbia hopes Missouri will follow the PACT guidelines proposed by Dr. Sheldon H. Jacobson of the University of Illinois.

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P: People over politics in carrying out the redistricting process.
A: Accountability of those involved in making the maps.
C: Compromise in making decisions about the goals.
T: Transparency in each step of the process.

Amendment 3 overturned the redistricting reforms voters approved in 2018 and could allow twice the level of partisan gerrymandering typically described as “severe,” but it doesn’t have to. The League is especially concerned about language calling for “one person one vote” since it could make Missouri the only state not using the total population count when drawing legislative districts. That would leave out 1.5 million Missouri children.

“We are committed to ensuring as fair an outcome as possible when new maps are drawn,” says Fair Missouri’s Sean Nicholson. “Amendment 3 was written to allow for truly radical gerrymandering, but it does not require it. The broad bipartisan coalition that passed Clean Missouri will be active and engaged in the 2021 redistricting process to ensure that voters and communities come first in new maps, not politicians.”

65th State Convention Goes Virtual May 15

Local Presidents can now register delegates to LWVMO’s 65th State Convention. The virtual convention will begin at 9 am on Saturday, May 15, with pre-convention events on the preceding Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Observers can register here.

The convention speaker will be Dr. Deborah Turner, President of LWVUS. She served on the LWVUS National Board from 2016-present. She served as vice president of LWV Iowa from 2011–2015 and President of LWV Des Moines Metropolitan from 2010–2015. She obtained her JD from Drake University and her MD from University of Iowa. She has been a Gynecologic Oncologist for 30 years. Deborah served on the Board Regents for the State of Iowa (1999-2006), and was entered into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013. She lives in Nebraska and has two grown children – a son and a niece. She says, “I believe no child should be restrained by the circumstances of their birth. The League, through our leadership in the democracy space, can make this dream a reality.”

Supporting Election Reforms

The League is calling on U.S. Senators to act on democracy reforms recently approved in the U.S. House. LWVUS has called for national advocacy on the For the People Act, HR 1 in the House and S1 in the Senate. Click here for a fact sheet.

This pro-voter legislation ensures free, fair and accessible elections. This comprehensive bill would transform our political system into one that is more inclusive, responsive, and representative of the American people. Its reforms would:

  • Expand and protect voting rights and access to the ballot;
  • Put ordinary Americans ahead of Big Money donors;
  • End gerrymandering so that electoral districts are fairly drawn; and
  • Clean up government and hold elected officials to the highest ethical standards.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 4) will be introduced again this summer to restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court eliminated in Shelby County vs. Holder (2013). States would again have to receive preapproval from the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making legal changes to their voting practices.

League Opposes Photo ID Proposal

The League is against HB334, the General Assembly’s latest proposal to require all voters to show a government-issued photo ID. Vice President Nancy Copenhaver submitted written testimony to a House Elections Committee hearing Jan. 27 saying, “The League of Women Voters of Missouri is concerned that this committee is again considering strict photo ID legislation that could disenfranchise thousands of voters and discourage voting by many people of color as well as older and disabled voters. Evidence shows that there is no voter impersonation fraud in Missouri; there is no need for this legislation.”

In Memoriam: Mary Merritt

Past LWVMO President and Treasurer Mary Merritt passed away Jan. 15 in her home in Sedalia after contracting COVID-19 in November. Mary joined the League in 1979, serving at the state level as Secretary/Treasurer for 12 years and President for four years. On the national level, she served as a member of the National Budget Committee. In 2015, she won LWVMO’s Harriett Woods Award for Exemplary Service. At the time of her death, she was Co-President of the LWV of Sedalia-Pettis County. Last October, she moderated its forum with candidates for the Pettis County sheriff’s race.

LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox said, “Mary was always generous in giving me time and counsel while I learned ‘the League way.’ Whether it involved managing League finances, selling merchandise at Convention or via the website, or working through administrative matters with the Board and Joint Office, Mary knew the right thing to do.”

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held in Sedalia at a later date. Mary’s family encourages donations to the LWVMO Education Fund in lieu of flowers. Any mailed condolences may be sent to the Family of Mary Merritt at 1812 S. Grand, Sedalia, MO 65301.

Extend Safe Voting Provisions

Voters should be able to cast a ballot in 2021 without fear of getting or spreading COVID-19. Provisions to allow absentee voting for those who have or are at high risk of COVID-19 and provide remote voting options for Missouri voters expired on Dec. 31, 2020. Urge Governor Mike Parson to extend safe voting provisions to ensure that all Missourians can safely cast ballots during the 2021 municipal elections.

The League’s Register & Vote brochure has information on Missouri’s voting laws.

Missouri Notary Rule Stands

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled against the state chapters of the League of Women Voters and NAACP in their absentee ballot lawsuit on Oct. 9. The petitioners sought to protect the right to vote guaranteed by the Missouri Constitution and waive the notary requirement for absentee and mail-in ballots in 2020 elections.

“We are disappointed that the court didn’t waive the notary rule to protect voters’ health during the pandemic,” said LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox. “We are grateful, however, for the justices’ reminder that absentee rules leave it to the voter to determine if they expect to be confined due to illness on Election Day.” Voters can use the second excuse to vote absentee without a notary if they expect to be confined due to illness or are caring for someone who is ill or disabled.

Celebrate Women’s Vote

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

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.

Missouri Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion

On August 4, Missouri became the 38th state to approve Medicaid Expansion. Voters narrowly approved Amendment 2 “to adopt Medicaid Expansion for persons 19 to 64 years old with an income level at or below 133% of the federal poverty level.”  This will apply to individuals making under $17,000 or couples earning under $23,000 per year.

Oklahoma voters also recently approved Medicaid Expansion. Experiences in other states have shown improved health outcomes and cost savings. In Missouri, more than 90,000 children and 23,000 adults lost their coverage in the past year. Amendment 2 would make it easier for 230,000 low-income Missourians to see their doctors and receive needed medical services. Amendment 2 is designed to create thousands of health care jobs and increase state revenue by nearly $2 billion a year.

Since 2014, by not expanding Medicaid, Missouri has turned away over $15.5 billion which could have been used to improve our health care. The Center for Health Economics and Policy at Washington University conducted an analysis and concluded that Missouri Medicaid Expansion is budget neutral with possible savings of $39 million. Other independent studies have shown cost savings could reach $1 billion per year by 2026.

The League of Women Voters supports Medicaid Expansion. For a narrated PowerPoint presentation, click here.

LWV adopts racial justice resolution

Delegates voted 1,094 to 32 to approve LWVMO’s resolution.

LWVMO developed an urgent resolution “Racial Justice for Black People and All People of Color” that was overwhelmingly approved at the LWVUS National Convention. More than 20 state leagues cosponsored the resolution to advocate throughout our country for the eradication of systemic racism within every level of government; for the end of excessive force and brutality in law enforcement; and for equal protection under the law regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation.