MO League of Women Voters’ Thoughts on Voting and Election Bills from 2011 Missouri Legislative Session
For Immediate Release: 7/22/2011
Contact: Nancy Copenhaver
Legislative Director of the League of Women Voters of Missouri
660-263-5725 or Copenhaver22@sbcglobal.net
League Reflects on the Past Year of Organization’s Accomplishments to Preserve Voting Rights
The League of Women Voters of Missouri congratulates Governor Nixon for his veto of the Senate Bill that would have allowed implementation of a mandated state-issued photo ID for voting. The veto is important because if the court challenge to the ballot issue that would change the constitution is not successful and the amendment passes in November 2012, the mandate would be in effect. LWVMO testified against both issues and is part of the coalition that led to the suit against the ballot language. We celebrate the League's role in in keeping our election process open and accessible to all qualified voters.
Now League has another success in the election realm with Governor Nixon’s veto of another election bill. Although this bill would have done several things, the part that we were the most opposed to would have canceled elections for local offices in more that 900 communities that have a population of less than 35,000 if the number of candidates equaled the number of positions to be filled. It would have also barred write-in candidates in those races.
League has testified against similar bills in recent years that attempted to “save money” by holding fewer and fewer elections. The result of such legislation is that citizens have less awareness of who is serving in office (names don’t appear on ballots), prospective candidates are discouraged from running by local entities trying to avoid election costs, and public officials in charge of our tax money are never really “voted” on. In addition to testifying, League was contacted by the Governor’s staff to explain our opposition to this bill which no doubt was helpful to him in his decision to veto.
There were several other parts of the bill which weren’t so onerous, a couple of which the legislature may need to deal with in the veto/special session, such as moving the date of the 2012 presidential primary elections. This highlights the problem that comes with “omnibus” bills that lump a number of issues together to get some things passed.
Please take a moment to thank the Governor for his efforts in safeguarding the precious right to vote for all Missourians. Our elected officials receive a lot of criticism and rarely hear thanks. This is a good example of League’s advocacy for “good government” and an indication that we are an effective force for protection of voting rights in our state.
League of Women Voters of Missouri