Thursday, September 13, 2018
Here Comes the Vote: Ballot Ballyhoo and Redistricting Ramifications
Speaker: Nancy Miller, co-president, League of Women Voters, St. Louis Chapter
On November 6, we will go to the polls to vote on a daunting number of candidates, amendments, and propositions—some local, some national–that will have critical consequences for our lives. Nancy Miller helped us untangle the state issues, beginning withAmendment 1, which is also known as “Clean Missouri” because its goal is to clean up Missouri politics. Among other things, it will limit campaign contributions, stop the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists, and curtail gerrymandering of legislative districts through a transparent, nonpartisan process. See www.CleanMissouri.org. Women’s Voices and the League of Women Voters support this amendment.
Miller clarified the confusing three medical marijuanainitiatives on the ballot. Proposition C and Amendment 2offer similar pricing and protections, she said. But sales tax revenue raised through Amendment 2 will go solely for veterans’ health programs, whereas under Proposition C, a small portion of the taxes would also fund drug treatment and early childhood education. An important factor for voters to consider is the difference between propositions and amendments. The state legislature can change or not implement propositions that are passed, but the legislature cannot change amendments. Women’s Voices and the League favor medical marijuana. However, neither organization supports a third option–Amendment 3—because it directs sales tax revenues to an entity that will be created and overseen by one wealthy individual who would control the funds.
Another problematic initiative is Proposition D: Gas Tax Increase. The tax increase will raise more than $288 million, but the proposition does not clearly specify how the new funds would be used to benefit Missouri. The tax is also regressive, putting greater burden on low-income individuals. Because of these concerns, neither Women’s Voices nor the League supports this measure or has taken a position on it.
In November, we will also vote on judges. Christine Bertelson, communications director, St. Louis County Circuit Court, urged us to inform ourselves about the 21 judges who are up for retention. Go to www.mobar.org; www.yourmissourijudges.org; and https://wp.stlcountycourts.com to learn more. She also recommended that we learn about the Missouri Plan (www.MissouriPlan.com), a method of choosing judges that keeps politics out of our courts and is used in 30 other states.
Also of note: Miller said the League is suing the Missouri secretary of state for not complying with requirements that help people obtain photo IDs and register to vote. See www.showit2vote.com for information on what forms of ID are needed and how to obtain a free photo ID or register to vote (which can now be done online with a tablet, mobile device or other touchscreen device at https://s1.sos.mo.gov/votemissouri/request).
All Women’s Voices positions on these and other ballot initiatives are available here.
Find out how to get involved in voter efforts (education, engagement, mobilization, protection and registration):