Category Archives: Uncategorized

Head to Sedalia Nov. 2

Climate change is the focus of the LWVMO Fall Conference to be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the State Fair Community College’s Heckart Health and Science Building in Sedalia.

Speakers include Carolyn Amaparan from the Climate Reality Project and Dick Parker, a LWVCBC member who’s a strong advocate for reducing greenhouse gas production (fourth from left below).

Registration will be from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Sessions include:

– Climate Change in the World, US, MO and What You Can Do Today

– Overview of Climate Change

– The Most Impactful Action Making Democracy Work

– LWVMO 100th Anniversary Lunch and Celebration

– Local League Sharing Ideas

– Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

– 2020 Legislative Session Advocacy Training

The $25 registration fee includes lunch. You can pay below or send a check to LWVMO at 8706 Manchester Rd., Suite 104, St. Louis, MO 63144. The deadline to register is Friday, October 25.

Focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Cecilia Belser-Patton and LWVMO Secretary Louise Wilkerson

At the LWVMO Fall Planning Conference, Cecilia Belser-Patton from Jobs with Justice participated in a panel with Louise Wilkerson and state president Evelyn Maddox. They discussed intentional relationship building and welcoming all voices to the League, including persons of color, youth, men, LGBTQIA and low-income women.

“We can learn to move forward in ways that are inclusive…and engage people in ways that we haven’t before,” Belser-Patton said. She stressed the need to educate Missouri voters on the issues and then get them to vote based on their self-interest and shared values rather than political party.

The board of directors adopted the following DEI policy at the September 25 meeting:
The League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.

Evelyn Maddox testifies in Photo ID Trial

President Evelyn Maddox testified on Aug. 20 that Missouri voters are still confused about what identification they need to present at the polls despite extensive education efforts by League volunteers. Maddox is pictured below with Advancement Project lawyers Denise Lieberman and Sabrina Khan, Gillian Wilcox from the ACLU, Executive Director Jean Dugan, and Metro St. Louis officers Nancy Miller and Nancy Price. The group was in Jefferson City for the trial in the League’s case with the NAACP challenging the Secretary of State’s implementation of the photo ID law.

State Fair Parade

LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox and Vice President Marilyn McLeod were part of the League’s entry in the iconic Missouri State Fair Parade.

Celebrating 100 Years

League members came from Columbia, Kansas City, Moberly, Sedalia and St. Louis. Many dressed in suffragist white with Votes for Women sashes.

To recognize the Centennial of the League and Missouri’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft presented a proclamation signed by Governor Mike Parson in the Capitol Rotunda on July 8. The proclamation concludes: Whereas, the State of Missouri recognizes that the League of Women Voters of Missouri, which arose from the Missouri Woman Suffrage Association, has worked to educate and empower voters since its founding in October 1919, and Whereas, the citizens of Missouri appreciate the struggles of the Suffragists and others who fought for the right to vote by all citizens; Now, therefore, I, Michael L. Parson, Governor of the State of Missouri, do hereby recognize the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment.

State Board members took a photo by a plaque the League installed in 1931 that is a tribute “to those women in Missouri whose courageous work opened the opportunities of complete citizenship to all women in the state.” For a list of Missouri suffragists and a closer look at the plaque, click here.

Louise Wilkerson, Marilyn McLeod, Sect. Ashcroft, Evelyn Maddox and Carol Schreiber.

Centennial Sashay

About 50 League members and Girl Scouts celebrated the Centennial of the League of Women Voters of Missouri and Missouri’s ratification of the 19th Amendment by marching in a 4th of July parade in Webster Groves.

State Convention Focuses on Election Reforms

LWVMO Board 2019-21

LWVMO Board for 2019-21: Treasurer Cindy Wunderlich, President Evelyn Maddox, Vice President Marilyn McLeod, Nancy Copenhaver, Sharon Swon, Marge Bramer, Secretary Louise Wilkerson, Carol Schreiber, Joan Gentry, Kathleen Boswell, Melodie Armstrong and Nancy Miller.

The 64th state convention featured several speakers on election reform. On Friday, Alicia Gurrieri from LWVUS presented a workshop to help League members empower voters and defend democracy.

Amber McReynolds was a fabulous keynote speaker. She explained how she worked to get comprehensive election reform in Colorado, including automatic voter registration and address changes, mail-in ballots and central vote centers. “Let’s make the voting experience something everyone can celebrate,” she told LWVMO convention delegates. The former director of elections for Denver, she is now the Executive Director for the National Vote at Home Institute and serves as senior strategic adviser on various election-focused projects across the country. She was  introduced by Eric Fey, Director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections.

TishauraSt. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones updated the convention on proposed election reforms “to ensure an effective government of, by and for the people.” She called Amendment 1 “a tremendous victory to clean up Missouri politics.” After commending the League for its work for American democracy, she challenged delegates to block legislation now in the Missouri Senate to override voter wishes and make it easier to gerrymander.  She also shared some exciting opportunities to make positive lasting changes for voters, including approval or ranked choice voting.

In honor of the League’s centennial in 2019, the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis hosted a Suffragist Tour of Bellefontaine Cemetery on Thursday. On Friday night, delegates and guests enjoyed What Women Wore: A League of Women Voters Centennial Fashion Show. The entertaining and informative Fashion Show Script was written by Nichole Burgdorf and read by Rebecca Now, with fashions modeled by the volunteer board of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Poster Encourages Students to Register to Vote

Laura Champion from Lafayette High School in the Rockwood School District just won LWVMO’s statewide poster contest to promote youth voter registration. The League will send a copy of Champion’s poster to every high school in Missouri before the April 2019 local elections.

Metro St. Louis League Co-presidents Nancy Miller and Louise Wilkerson surprised Champion with a $500 prize.

“This vibrant poster catches your attention,” Miller says. “Laura is a very talented young artist and I hope this poster will inspire more interest in voting among high school students.”

Lafayette - Laura Champion“The colors make it more exciting and enthusiastic, which is my stance on getting people to vote,” Champion said. “I’m passionate about having people’s voices heard.”

Miller noted that overall voter turn-out of almost 60 percent in November was unusually high for a mid-term election. An early estimate shows 31 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 nationwide voted in 2018, but that would be an improvement over 20 percent in 2014.

State President Kathleen Boswell said, “We hope this poster will encourage more young people to register to vote as soon as they are eligible, which in Missouri is six months before their 18th birthday.”

The finalists in the competition included students from Kansas City, Sedalia, Springfield and Vandalia.

Amendment 1 Cleans Up State Politics

Amendment 1 was approved with 62 percent of the vote on Nov. 6, winning a majority in every state senate district. The League is reaching out to Governor Mike Parson and legislators, asking them to respect the people of Missouri and not undermine this effort to clean up Missouri politics.

After careful study, LWVMO endorsed the constitutional amendment in 2017. Using grants from the LWVUS Education Fund and the Election Reformers Network, LWVMO advocated for Amendment 1 and its changes to how legislative district maps would be drawn after each census.

“The League of Women Voters of Missouri played a crucial role in promoting the anti-gerrymandering provisions of Amendment 1,” said Clean Missouri Communications Director Benjamin Singer. “Thanks in big part to the League, Missouri will have more fair and competitive maps that protect minority representation and follow city and county lines when possible. Thank you, League of Women Voters of Missouri.”

LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell was encouraged by the vote. “Amendment 1 will clean up state politics by increasing fairness, integrity and transparency in government.”

Jeff City news conferenceAmendment 1 includes strong language ensuring racial fairness in redistricting. Besides improves the system for drawing fair maps, Amendment 1 bans most lobbyist gifts to legislators, lowers contribution limits for state house and senate races, requires state government to be more transparent, and makes other needed reforms. For more information and the complete text of the Constitutional amendment, go to www.cleanmissouri.org.

Information on 2018 Ballot Issues

By a wide margin, voters on Nov. 6 approved a Constitutional Amendment to clean up Missouri politics. Several bills were introduced in 2019 to negate  Amendment 1’s redistricting reform and sunshine law expansion.  HJR 48 would have asked voters in 2020 to eliminate the nonpartisan state demographer and move partisan fairness and competitiveness to the lowest priority in the redistricting process. The House also added language that could shift the basis of redistricting away from total population, as is currently the practice in all 50 states.  LWVMO encouraged legislators to Respect Missouri Voters and the Senate adjourned without voting on HJR48.

Voters in 2018 also approved Amendment 2 on medical marijuana, Amendment 4 on Bingo, and Prop B to raise the minimum wage by 85 cents an hour each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023.