A Kansas City attorney who helped draw the boundaries of Missouri’s current legislative districts is trying to knock a question off the November ballot designed to end partisan gerrymandering. In a lawsuit filed on behalf of Paul Ritter, a Miller County resident, attorney Eddie Greim said the proposed referendum violates a provision in the Missouri Constitution that prevents multiple subjects from being combined into one ballot proposal. “One purpose of the prohibition on multiple subjects in a single ballot proposal is to prevent `logrolling,’ a practice familiar to legislative bodies whereby unrelated subjects that individually might not muster enough support to pass are combined to generate the necessary support,” the lawsuit says.
Articles about voting issues in Missouri.
A proposed ballot initiative aims to replace Missouri’s system for drawing state legislative districts with a model designed to have the number of seats won by each party more closely reflect its statewide vote. If election officials validate enough signatures collected by Clean Missouri, the group sponsoring the proposal, voters will have the final say Nov. 6. The stakes are high: Another round of redistricting begins after the 2020 census. More than $2 million has flowed into Clean Missouri’s coffers, including at least a quarter-of-a-million dollars that originated from the lobbying arm of billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network. Soros’ financial support of liberal and progressive causes around the country has made him a frequent target of conservatives. That, and support from groups representing labor, teachers, abortion-rights and other left-leaning causes has led some Republicans to cast Clean Missouri as a partisan effort to help Democrats gain ground against GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate.
A national progressive organization filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Missouri’s voter ID law on behalf of a 70-year-old Jackson County woman. The suit was filed in Cole County by Priorities USA, a Democratic-aligned group that advocates for voting rights and works to identify “opportunities for progressives to stand up to the Republican agenda,” according to its website. Missouri voters in 2016 approved the voter ID requirement as an amendment to the state’s Constitution by a 26-point margin. But attorneys for Priorities USA argue that it creates undue burdens for voters who lack the required photo identification.
Missouri: Proposed constitutional amendment would exclude non-citizens from redistricting | Columbia Missourian
A Senate committee passed a resolution Thursday that would exclude non-citizens from the state’s population count when it comes to redistricting. House Joint Resolution 100, sponsored by Rep. Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, would make it so only U.S. citizens are counted in the population used in reapportionment. While Plocher received criticism from witnesses who said the proposal treats non-citizens as unequal, he said this measure would actually encourage people to become U.S. citizens faster.
State-level Republicans are pouncing on the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the Census as a way to boost their electoral advantage in the next round of redistricting. Missouri Republicans last week advanced a measure that would put on November’s ballot a constitutional amendment to require state legislative districts to be drawn using the number of citizens, rather than total population. Two Republicans defected from the otherwise 90-34 party line House vote. Asked during a Friday floor debate over how Missouri would implement the requirement, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dean Plocher (R), pointed specifically to the fact that the citizenship question will be on the next Census.
Missouri legislators approved numerous changes Thursday to local elections, including allowing voters to request absentee ballots by email. The omnibus measure won final approval in the Senate, 24-7, more than a week after the House passed it 139-6. The measure would also potentially reduce the amount of time candidates would have to get their names on ballots during special elections.
The League of Women Voters of Missouri sued the state Tuesday, claiming it did not follow federal voting-rights law requiring it to update the voter database with information from motor-vehicle records, which the group says impacts half a million residents every year. The National Voter Registration Act, or NVRA, requires states to offer residents the opportunity to register to vote whenever someone applies for a new or renewed driver’s license or state ID. It also requires the state to update the individual’s voter registration record whenever a voter updates their address information with the state motor vehicle agency. But the League of Women Voters of Missouri, joined by the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City branches of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, claims the state has failed to comply with the federal law.
Advocacy groups on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Missouri for not following federal voter laws. The lawsuit accuses the state of not automatically updating voter registration after address changes and not providing required registration information to some voters. The lawsuit lays blame on the Department of Revenue for its role in registration tied to driver’s license services, as well as the secretary of state for not ensuring voter laws are followed.
The Missouri Senate is considering a bill that will forbid the use of electronic voting machines and require the exclusive use of traditional paper ballots. The bill has already passed the House with a 108-31 vote. State Rep. Paul Curtman presented the bill to Missouri Senate last week. As stated in House Bill No. 2208, no electronic voting systems will be approved unless meeting specific guidelines and “The official ballot shall be a paper ballot that is hand-marked by the voter or, in the case of disabled voters who need assistance, by a paper-ballot marking device designed to assist the disabled.”
The Missouri Senate is considering whether to permanently unplug the state’s touchscreen machines amid concerns that electronic voting machines might be susceptible to hackers. The proposal, which already passed the House in a 108-31 vote, would require voters to use paper ballots exclusively. Machines could still be used to count votes and to assist disabled voters in marking their ballots. But systems that only recorded votes electronically would be phased out. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Curtman of Washington, said the proposal would help ensure the “highest confidence in the integrity of our election system.” If enacted, the proposal would not be a sea change for the state. Every county in Missouri already uses at least some paper ballots. About two dozen counties also use electronic voting machines that do not require a paper ballot, but those machines still create a paper trail for auditing vote totals.