Missouri progressives to make case for voting reform at demonstrations

A coalition of non-partisan electoral groups and progressive voters from Missouri are planning to campaign for electoral reform this weekend.

On Saturday, they are planning coordinated public demonstrations in five Missouri cities: Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City and Cape Girardeau.

Denise Lieberman, a civil rights attorney with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, said on a call from St. Louis Friday morning that MVPC and about 10 partners from the Springfield area are working with similar groups in more than 150 U.S. cities and are focusing on the memory of civil rights hero John Lewis to advance their cause.

Lieberman told the News Leader: “Legislators in Missouri are nearing their final week of (legislative) session and are ready to vote on potentially several restrictive voting proposals that are ready to be put to the vote, including tough photo ID laws and laws, who tie the chains. ” Citizen election initiative and making it difficult for everyday voters to hear their voices. “

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State representative Betsy Fogle among the speakers

Betsy Fogle, a Democrat representing parts of East Springfield in Ward 135, is one of a series of speakers to be held Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Christian / Trinity Presbyterian Churches of Brentwood, 1900 E. Barataria St. want to gather.

Other speakers include representatives from the Missouri Faith Voices, the NAACP Springfield Branch, Empower Abilities, the Grupo Latinoamericano, the League of Women Voters in Southwest Missouri, students from Springfield High Schools and others. After the speakers have given their presentations, people who turn out to be in favor of the demonstration plan plan to attend a “Votercade and Voter Parade”.

Fogle texted the news leader Friday while participating in household debates on the floor of the house: “This year, as a freshman to Jefferson City, I saw our lawmakers primarily undermine our neighbors’ ability to participate in the democratic process The laws tabled this year would make it more difficult to vote, make changes through the initiative process, and protest the things that will have dire consequences on their lives. “

Fogle said she wanted to speak at the Springfield demonstration to “show my support that the voice of the Missouri people is always more important than the voice of the people who are paid to represent them”.

“John Lewis” demonstrations promoting two proposed reforms to the federal election

The “John Lewis” demonstrations on Saturday are set to boost two federal bills that are about to surge by Congress, according to several national media reports. Both bills were sent through the Democratic-controlled US house in 2019 but never made it through the Senate to the president’s desk.

The bills, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, are largely supported by National Democrats. However, local organizer Marla Marantz forwarded national poll results to the news leader, which were collected in January by a liberal electoral bureau. Poll results show that, to varying degrees, the majority of likely voters – including Democrats, Republicans, and independents – support the For the People Act, also known as HR 1.

HR 1 would address voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government, according to an official summary on the Congress website. It would add automatic same-day voter registration, postal voting, and early voting systems, and limit states’ ability to remove voters from official electoral rolls.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that some national legal experts believe HR 1 is so ambitious that it would lead to a “far-reaching constitutional battle” in the US Supreme Court. Conservatives who speak out against HR 1 consider it “a legislative buffet of bad ideas,” as the editors of the National Review put it back in 2019.

If passed, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (known as HR 4) would restore and strengthen portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down in a 2013 decision by the US Supreme Court. The VRA once asked certain jurisdictions (particularly in the southern US) to obtain “pre-clearance” from federal officials before making any changes to voting procedures based on their heritage of Jim Crow-type discrimination at the ballot box.

The House Election Subcommittee held a hearing on HR 4 in early April, but the bill was not reintroduced in the seated Congress. When the Supreme Court knocked down parts of the VRA eight years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “preclearance” is “a formula based on 40 year old facts and has no logical relation to the present day”.

Marantz, the organizer of the Springfield demonstration, said the federal bills could help address what she and others see as attempts by state lawmakers to “suppress voters”.

She said: “We are concerned about the onslaught of over 350 bills in 47 states that have been tabled since the record turnout in the recent elections, and these bills are designed to suppress voting among target communities of people of color, women, youth, and people with disabilities Low wage workers. “

Lieberman, advocate for the electoral protection group, said the dollar cost of adding measures to ensure verifiable ballots, apologetic absentee voting, and other reforms would offset the cost they believed society would already incur if voters were excluded from the process Due to requirements that she considers unfair, such as the certification of postal ballot papers, photo ID mandates and long lines at polling stations.

Marantz in Springfield said, “Votes are the cornerstone of our democracy. And we have to do what we can to make sure everyone can exercise their rights. It’s the key, it’s our vote. It’s one of the ways we do it can.” have nonviolent change … we need to make sure everyone feels they have this opportunity. “

Contact News Leader reporter Gregory Holman by email at [email protected] Please consider subscribing to support important local journalism.

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