Category Archives: Uncategorized

League Supports Freedom to Vote Act

Introduced on Sept. 13, the Freedom to Vote Act (S2747) improves access to the ballot for Americans, advances commonsense election integrity reforms, and protects our democracy from emerging threats. This bill includes many provisions of the For the People Act (HR1/S1) but reflects feedback from state and local election officials to ensure that the people responsible for implementing these reforms are able to do so effectively.

This federal legislation also elevates the voices of all Americans by curbing partisan gerrymandering and rooting out the undue influence of special interest money in our politics. Click here for an LWVMO Fact Sheet.

Support Federal Voting Rights Legislation

President Lyndon Johnson signed the original Voting Rights Act in 1965. Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan signed the Voting Rights Act in 1982 and George W. Bush signed its 2006 reauthorization. Click here for a fact sheet on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that passed the House in August.

The Freedom to Vote Act (S2747) includes many provisions of the For the People Act (HR1/S1) but reflects feedback from state and local election officials to ensure that the people responsible for implementing these reforms are able to do so effectively. It would improve access to the ballot for Americans, advances commonsense election integrity reforms, and protects our democracy from emerging threats. This federal legislation also elevates the voices of all Americans by curbing partisan gerrymandering and rooting out the undue influence of special interest money in our politics. Click here for an LWVMO Fact Sheet.

The For the People Ac (HR1/S1) was the first bill introduced in both houses of the 117th Congress to support free, fair and accessible elections and voters’ rights. The House approved HR1 on March 4, but a filibuster blocked action in the Senate. 

SIGNING OF H.R. 9, THE FANNIE LOU HAMER, ROSA PARKS, AND CORETTA SCOTT KING VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION AND AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2006

No Need to Limit the Petition Process or Increase Election Security

“The League of Women Voters of Missouri believes every citizen should have a voice in our government,” LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod said in an August 24 House Elections Committee hearing. “We do not see any need for legislation to limit the petition process in Missouri or increase election security. This committee should look for ways to increase voter participation, not limit it.”

Stressing the League’s support for increasing voter turn-out and the security of mail-in ballots used in the 2020 elections, McLeod called on the committee to move to no-excuse absentee ballots. Chair Don Shaul said the state won’t go back to mail-in voting. He asked if the League would support a photo ID requirement for no-excuse absentee ballots. McLeod said the League supports the current voter identification options.

In her testimony, McLeod encouraged the state to use federal money to help county clerks and other election authorities update voting equipment and make it easier for all eligible voters to cast their ballots securely.

State Must Expand Medicaid

League members advocated for Medicaid expansion in Jefferson City and across the state.
Pictured are Victoria Turner, Angie Dunlap, Mary Pat Robben and Gloria Garidel at a June rally in St. Louis.

The Missouri Supreme Court just unanimously agreed that Medicaid Expansion is the law of the land, upholding the constitutional amendment voters approved in August 2020 against budget challenges.

“It has been almost a decade since Missouri Health Care for All started fighting to make Medicaid expansion a reality. Today, we are excited to see Missouri cross the finish line and bring health care to 275,000 people,” Drew Noblot and Sarah Willey, Missouri Health Care for All interim co-executive directors said in a statement.

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.

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).

LWVUS President Keynotes 65th State Convention

LWVMO held its 65th annual convention on Saturday, May 15, on Zoom. The convention speaker was Dr. Deborah Turner, President of LWVUS. In inspirational remarks, she stressed that the League’s non-partisanship is the bedrock of the organization. “Wanting every eligible voter to have equal access to the ballot box is not partisan. Wanting a robust democracy in which everyone has an equal voice and equal representation is not partisan. Wanting to see more elected officials that reflect the diverse makeup of our country is not partisan – it is American.”

“I know that you have not been deterred in your efforts to create a more perfect democracy in Missouri,” Turner said. “You fought hard to protect clean elections and fair maps in your state, and although you did not get the result you wanted with Amendment 3 in the last election, I have every confidence in your ability to keep up the good fight. At national, we are here to partner with you to continue moving the dial on fair maps, voting rights, social justice, and democracy.”

Dr. Turner stressed the continued mission of empowering voters and defending democracy. She commended the Missouri League for registering and educating thousands of voters in 2020. Click here to watch her keynote address to the convention.

The convention elected Marilyn McLeod from Columbia as President. Other new officers are Louise Wilkerson from Metro St. Louis as Vice President, Kathleen Boswell from Sedalia as Secretary, and Diane Suhler from Columbia as Treasurer. Joining the board are Joan Hubbard, Anne Sappington, and Catherine Stenger from Metro St. Louis and Jill Smull and Julie Steiger from Southwest Missouri.

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.”