Author Archives: lwvcbc

Women Power Democracy

Women Power Democracy is the League’s four-pronged approach to building trust in our elections, growing our electorate, creating fair voter access, and ensuring community districting reflects our population. Its components are: 

  • Democracy Truth Project: Countering mis- and disinformation in our government and advancing public understanding of the democratic process;
  • Expand the Franchise: Increasing voter participation, with a focus on underrepresented populations and low-propensity voters;
  • Democracy Defense Fund: Protecting voting rights and advancing a more equitable democracy through advocacy and voter protection efforts; and 
  • People Powered Fair Maps™: Leading with advocacy, public education, and organizing to create transparent, people-powered electoral maps and eliminate gerrymandering during 2021 redistricting. 

Mary Merritt Bench Dedicated

Sedalia Mayor Tom Kehde dedicated a bench in honor of Mary Merritt by the fountain in front of city hall on July 2. It was made by welding students at State Fair College and paid for by donations to the LWVMO Education Fund. Pictured are Debby Howard, Elaine Blodgett, Evelyn Maddox (front row) Jean Dugan, Kathleen Farrell, Nancy Thompson, Carol Portman, Linda McDaniel, Carol Schreiber, Kathleen Boswell and Donna Hoch (back row).

People Powered Day of Action

We partnered with Show Me Integrity for an Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 28. President Evelyn Maddox led 18 members from across the state in sharing our support for Fair Maps and a transparent redistricting process, as well as our opposition to changes in the initiative petition process and strict photo ID rules that would disenfranchise voters.

On April 29, Sharon Geuea Jones gave an excellent presentation on “Can Gerrymandering Be Stopped?” Click here for a PDF of her slides or here for a recording of the webinar. We debuted a recording of singer/songwriter Shanna Jones performing People Power Makes Us Strong with lyrics written by Bill Clause. Look for the recordings on our YouTube channel.

Jones encouraged League members to help map communities of interest. Fair Missouri’s Sean Nicholson trained 14 members of LWV of Metro St. Louis in Districtr map-making software earlier on the 29th.

On May 4, Nicholson shared his insights on the 2021 redistricting process.

Redistricting Process Must Be Transparent

A Fair Redistricting committee headed by Sharon Schneeberger of Columbia hopes Missouri is following 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.

Click here for LWVMO’s Fair Maps resource page.

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’s Calvary Episcopal Church at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 2. 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.

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.

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.

Photo ID Not Needed to Vote

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.

Women Power the Vote

The League of Women Voters was founded on Feb. 14, 1920. To celebrate that centennial, 300 local and state Leagues in all 50 states held activities to stress that “Women Power the Vote” in 2020.

“The nonpartisan League was founded to help American women exercise their hard-fought right to vote,” said LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox. “A hundred years after getting suffrage, women now outnumber men among registered voters. For the four elections in 2020, women will power the vote. Our founders fought to get the 19th Amendment passed 100 years ago, and we honor that long battle by educating and empowering all voters so that each can play a critical role in shaping our country.”

LWV of Missouri sent thousands of suffragist valentines to Missouri legislators, League members and friends of the League. LWVMO’s local Leagues held a variety of activities in addition to voter registration drives.