Voting Rights

Court case blocks portion of MO Voter photo ID law 

October 23, 2018

Voters in Missouri will not be required to sign an affidavit when using a identification (with or without a photo) to vote in the upcoming mid-term election. A judge blocks portion of Missouri voter photo ID law and then clarifies the point that voters without photo identification will NOT be required to sign an affidavit.

The Approach to Voter Fraud – Lie

September 9, 2018  – The New York Times –

Carol Anderson, a professor of African-American studies at Emory University.

This New York Times commentary uses Missouri as the example for how lying about non-existant voter fraud became the norm.

From the commentary: Rampant voter fraud does not exist. There is no epidemic of illegal voting. But the lie is so mesmerizing, it takes off like a wildfire, so that the irrational fear that someone might vote who shouldn’t means that hundreds of thousands who should can’t cast ballots, in part because of the increase in voter ID laws across the country in recent years.

The commentary outlines how lying about voter fraud began in 2000 and how it is used now to restrict voting: The best way to understand the lie is to understand how it began: on Election Day in 2000….  St. Louis Board of Elections had purged some 50,000 names from the voter rolls, primarily in key Democratic precincts. And it had failed to notify the people who had just been stripped of their vote, as the law required….Missouri Republicans twisted this clear case of election board wrongdoing into a torrent of accusations against the Democrats and the overwhelmingly black residents of St. Louis…. Senator Bond’s leadership on the Help America Vote Act, which was designed to solve the “problems” that emerged in the 2000 election, required that the lie of voter fraud and the need for voter ID become embedded in federal law.

Read the full commentary here

Georgia voting rights activists move to block a plan to close two-thirds of polling places in a majority black county

August 18, 2018 – The Washington Post

Voting rights activists in Georgia say they will launch a petition drive in an effort to collect enough signatures of registered voters to block a proposal to close more than two-thirds of polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of this fall’s general election.

The plan to shutter the voting sites in Randolph County, a rural community about 2½ hours south of Atlanta, has drawn dozens of local residents and progressive groups to two public hearings in recent days. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a formal protest with the county’s board of elections.

Read more here

Sign Petition here 

 

Protect Our Democracy

July 18, 2018

Women’s Voices is an organization that addresses social justice issues.  One of those issues is voting rights.  We believe that “the universal right to vote is essential in a system of representative government.” We believe all elected officials, regardless of their party, should protect our precious right to free, fair, and honest elections. The confidence in our ability to elect officials who will support this right underpins American democracy. Recent events show that the integrity of our elections is in jeopardy as never before in our history from multiple threats: cyber attack, gerrymandering, voter I.D. laws, and laws that limit the number of voting sites and voting days and hours. We urge our members to speak out strongly against these threats.

Women’s Voices members Trish Gunby and Michelle Steinberg represent us at the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. We urge you to also get involved with voting rights.    Consider helping with voter registration, take action with Let America Vote, follow the St. Louis Chapter of the League of Women Voters.  And save the date, September 13 when Nancy Miller from the League will be the presenter at our program, “Here Comes The Vote:  Ballot Ballyhoo and Redistricting Ramifications.

Letter from Missouri Voter Protection Coalition

May 31, 2017

Nearly 50 organizations affiliated with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, including Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice,  sent a letter to state officials demanding that they take affirmative steps to comply with voter registration laws to ensure that Missourians can properly exercise their fundamental right to vote in this year’s elections. Missouri, the letter states, is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), a law designed to aid voter registration.    read the letter here

Lawsuit Filed Against Missouri Over State Motor Vehicle Agency’s Failure to Provide Federally-Mandated Voter Registration Services

April 17, 2018 The League of Women Voters of Missouri and the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City Chapters of the A. Philip Randolph Institute today filed a lawsuit against the state of Missouri for failing to comply with federal voting rights law that ensures Missourians have access to voter registration and that their registration records are accurately updated. Voting rights watchdogs Dēmos, Advancement Project’s national office, and the ACLU jointly represent the Plaintiffs.     Read more here 

Day of Action for Democracy

September 12, 2017

In response to a meeting of the Pence-Kobach Commission on Election Integrity,  a number of voting coalition groups gathered for a “National Day of Action for Democracy”.  At a press conference  in front of the History Museum in St. Louis, Women’s Voices was represented by Trish Gunby who gave the following remarks:

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice wants citizens to know that protecting the right to vote for everyone is at the heart of our democracy.  This is the most powerful tool Americans have to give voice to the kind of society we desire.  The values we care most about—fairness, equality and justice—require absolute access to the voting booth.

For these reasons, Missouri’s newly passed voter photo ID law is an example of restricting one’s access to the ballot box.  Voter impersonation fraud is virtually non-existent in our state.  If we are the “Show Me” state, then Secretary of State Ashcroft, show us the incidences of voter impersonation fraud and voter fraud and post them on your web site.  We believe the incidences are negligible compared to the millions who have voted and this truth will demonstrate why the photo ID law should be repealed.

On the national front, we ask the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to improve voter access and adopt measures that expand voting rights like same-day or automatic voter registration, more early voting opportunities, ending partisan and racial gerrymandering, modernizing election systems and making Election Day a national holiday.

Finally, across our great country and especially in Missouri, voting rights should be an exercise in expanding the voting circle wide not restricting it.  For that reason, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice stands in solidarity with these groups to protect citizens’ right to vote.

Missouri to Provide Voter Information to Federal Government

“The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will comply with a White House commission’s request for voter information — but only the details allowed under state law. Missouri will provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with voters’ names, addresses, voting sites and elections they voted in, said Maura Browning, communications director for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. But the state will not give the commission any Missouri voter’s Social Security number, political-party affiliation or identify how they voted, Browning said. [This was the original request from Kris Kobach.]”  Read more

How You Can Help with Voter ID Law

By Michele Steinberg, Women’s Voices Advocacy Committee

On May 31, we stood on the steps of the Old Courthouse with fellow members of the MO Voter Protection Coalition to call for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to issue clear and crucial guidance on how the new Voter ID law will be implemented.  Effective June 1, 2017, the Voter ID law requires all registered voters to show a government issued photo ID before voting.  The law also requires the state of Missouri to assist voters who do not posses an ID with the process of obtaining one – at no charge.  Although the law allows for registered voters without an ID to vote by presenting various secondary ID’s and signing sworn statements, Women’s Voices Raised For Social Justice is concerned this new law will have a chilling effect on the voting public, and those without identification will opt out of the voting process.

Proponents of the law say it is necessary to prevent voter fraud and defend the integrity of the voting process. However, while speaking about the new law across the state, Secretary Ashcroft would not specify how many in person voter fraud cases Missouri this law would have stopped. On June 8, 2017 the Advancement Project and the ACLU sued Missouri over the new law, charging the sate has failed to provide mandated funding for voter education, free voter IDs and birth certificates and training of poll workers.  Secretary Ashcroft has admitted the state will be unable to implement the ID law in time.

There are several ways you can help and learn more:

  • Watch Secretary Ashcroft discuss the Voter ID law in Ferguson during his state tour.
  • Attend a training session sponsored by coalition member WECAN and become an election monitor.
  • Visit DMV’s across the state to inquire about their training and implementation of the voter ID law.
  • Contact your local election board and volunteer to be an election judge/poll worker.
  • Volunteer at Francis Xavier (College) Church’s outreach program, the only agency in the state providing ID assistance on ongoing and large-scale basis.
  • Document and share any experiences you or your acquaintances have while obtaining and ID or voting without one.
  • Visit ShowItToVote.com to learn directly from the Secretary of State about the Voter ID Law

Please join us in ensuring every Missourian has access to their fundamental right to vote without fear, confusion or intimidation.

What You Need To Know About New Voter ID Law

Click here to find answers to questions about the new law

Law Suit Filed To Temporarily Halt MO Voter ID Law

June 8, 2107

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project filed suit Thursday against Missouri over its new voter ID law. The suit claims the state failed to provide mandated funding for voter education, free voter IDs and birth certificates and training of poll workers.   Read more here

 As Missouri photo ID voting law goes into effect, opponents equate it to ‘Jim Crow”

St. Louis voters will be among the first to go to the polls under a new statewide photo-identification voting law, during a special election for an aldermanic seat in July.  But Missouri’s top election official is acknowledging the state won’t be ready to provide free IDs to all in that election who may need them.  Read more

Several Women’s Voices members attended a news conference May 31 at the Old Courthouse to denounce the new law and call for clear explanations of how it will be implemented.  Michele Steinberg, a member of our Advocacy Committee, stated  “Women’s Voices is proud to stand with our fellow coalition partners in supporting Missourians right to vote without fear, confusion or intimidation.  We urge Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to issue crucial guidance to both election officials and voters about how the new voter ID law will be implemented.  Both Secretary Ashcroft and Governor Greitens must stand by their promise that no voter will be turned away and ensure every Missourian has access to their fundamental right to vote.”

Coalition Letter to Ashcroft:  Stop Endangering Voters’ Access to Ballot 

Women’s Voices was one of nearly 40 organizations that sent a letter to Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft demanding that he offer clarity for elections officials who are tasked with enforcing Missouri’s controversial photo ID law, which will go into effect on June 1.

After the law was put in place, Ashcroft and Governor Greitens promised the voters of Missouri that the new process and requirements would not stop people from voting. However, there are ambiguities in the law that could spell disaster for election officials and voters if Ashcroft, the state’s top elections official, does not offer additional guidance.  Read more