Election integrity, the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and the Kansas ACLU
- This is a rush transcript and may not be in its final form. Some non-grammatical forms have been edited to conform more with the apparent intent than the exact verbiage, and links and notes have been added. Anyone finding errors or confusing statements is invited to correct them here or raise them in the accompanying "Discuss" page or add updates in notes and / or subsequent sections.
- This is a transcript of a videoconference on 2020-08-13 with Spencer Graves interviewing Denise Lieberman, General Counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Lauren Bonds, Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas. regarding, "Election integrity: voter fraud, voter suppression, gerrymandering." This was broadcasted as part of Thursday Night Special, 2020-08-13, on 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio. This broadcast began with 18 minutes extracted from "Five categories of voter suppression" and 3 minutes from "Voter suppression and the American Legislative Exchange Council".
Context[edit | edit source]
This panel discussion was broadcasted 2020-08-13 on 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio following excerpts from "Five categories of voter suppression" and "Voter suppression and the American Legislative Exchange Council". A discussion of all three interviews is available in "Electoral integrity in the United States".
Panel discussion[edit | edit source]
Spencer Graves 00:00
I'm Spencer Graves. Keith Washburn is a controls. We will be interviewing Denise Lieberman, General Counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Lauren Bonds, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas.
Spencer Graves 00:15
The rules of evidence in the court of public opinion is whatever will maximize the power of those who control the money for the media. The rules of evidence in courts of law in the US is much more honest, and probably on average more effective in screening the wheat from the chaff than perhaps even refereed academic journals. It should, therefore, not be surprising that the so-called liberal media have not done much to provide adequate coverage of the facts and the issues on these issues.
Spencer Graves 00:50
By contrast, Judge Julie Robinson noted that the former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach produced documentation of 39 cases of non-citizens who registered to vote in Kansas. He claimed that this was only the tip of an iceberg. And he got the Kansas legislature to require documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. While his DPOS was in effect, 12.4% of new voter registrations were rejected, effectively denying the franchise to more than 31,000 citizens.
Spencer Graves 01:30
If anyone has serious evidence of voter fraud, I want to know. Everything I've seen so far says that all the claims of massive voter fraud are propaganda used to justify voter suppression. That also matches the conclusions reached by Mack Heller and, of course, Judge Julie Robinson in her "Findings of facts and conclusions of law" in Fish versus Kobach, which to me, is the most credible source that I've found on this issue.
Spencer Graves 02:01
So Denise and Lauren, do you have any comments on that? Denise?
Denise Lieberman 02:12
Thanks so much, Spencer, for having me here tonight. And thank you for bringing attention to these important topics. So here's what we know: We know that voting is safe. We know that people can exercise the right to vote. But we know that leaders need to take steps to ensure that people have access to safe voting.
Denise Lieberman 02:37
And that's really what the issue is here. What we've seen over the last decade and a half has been a concerted attempt to make voting harder, particularly for particular segments of the community. And that's what we see in former Secretary Kobach's policies in the state of Kansas, as well as in states across the country that have, at least half the states across the country since 2010, have taken steps to make voting harder, particularly for certain segments of the population.
Denise Lieberman 03:09
And this is compounded by, of course, the current pandemic that we're in, which poses an existential threat to the ability of all of us to be able to cast our ballots. The good news is that we can. What we know is that our election processes can be made free, fair, accessible, and fraud free. But we need to make sure that all people have access to it, because if people don't have a seat at the table, if they don't have a voice, then we don't truly have a democracy.
Spencer Graves 03:45
Yes. Lauren, do you want to comment on that?
Lauren Bonds 03:52
Absolutely. You know, I think one of the terrible things about us having this, you know, ridiculous documentary proof of citizenship law in Kansas is that, you know, we had this case where we got to test the theory, where Kris Kobach and the state of Kansas had, you know, almost two weeks to present all their evidence, as you mentioned, to Judge Julie Robinson, to show her that, you know, voter fraud was a real problem that justified this extreme restriction. And even with all that time, in that forum to be able to try to do that, there wasn't any evidence, there wasn't sufficient evidence. That wasn't only Judge Julie Robinson's findings, but the 10th circuit upheld those findings. And so, you know, I would just say that, you know, we know, we've actually tested the theory that voter fraud is a problem. And the test came out that it isn't.
Lauren Bonds 04:47
What we have found, though, as Denise was mentioning, and this isn't, you know, exclusive to Kansas or Missouri, we're seeing this all over the United States, that there are, you know, very extreme restrictions that are keeping people from voting. And, you know, we hear about, you know, voter registration barriers. Registering to vote is way too hard in Kansas. It's way too hard in a number of places. Photo ID requirements: Those are creating these very, you know, unnecessary barriers. Because as we've seen, people aren't trying to vote fraudulently. People are trying to vote properly. And there are all these barriers in place. And so, yeah, I think that, you know, we need to really, really focus on what the issue here is, and that's access. It's not fraud.
Spencer Graves 05:33
Spencer Graves 05:36
Denise, you've got a couple of law cases that's affecting what's going to appear on the November ballot in Missouri. Tell us about that.
Denise Lieberman 05:50
Oh, absolutely. You know, and unfortunately, voters and their advocates have had to take to the courts for the better part of a decade to combat the virulent assaults on the right to vote that we've seen across this country since 2010. But these are compounded by the current pandemic. And you know, here in Missouri you know, at least the Missouri legislature passed a new law that at least acknowledges the barriers that the current pandemic poses to voters and their safety. You know, no voters should have to risk their safety and their health in order to exercise their right to vote. And so this new law in Missouri does provide some expanded options for Missourians to vote absentee and vote by mail, but they're exceedingly confusing, difficult to follow, and very, very challenging. And this is made, due in part to the fact that Missouri already had very restrictive laws when it came to voting outside of the polls on election day. Missouri is in the minority of states across the country that [don't?] allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. And in truth, if Missouri had passed such a measure, and these measures have been proposed every year for a decade, supported by Democrat and Republican election officials alike, we wouldn't be in this boat. But unfortunately, the measures that were passed, still place a great deal of barriers, including a notary requirement, and requires voters to only send and receive these ballots over the mail.
Denise Lieberman 07:38
And so we know that voters, who shouldn't have to risk their safety in order to go to a crowded polling place and interact with other voters and poll workers in order to exercise their right to vote, also should not have to leave their homes and go to a business and interact face to face with a notary, who may have been also interacting with numerous other people that day.
Denise Lieberman 08:01
And so our lawsuit is currently pending in court. We go to trial in just a few weeks. First, we've argued that anybody who is quarantining, confining themselves because of COVID, should be able to cast an absentee ballot without a notary already under Missouri law, which allows people who are confined due to illness to vote absentee. In addition, we argue that people who are casting ballots by mail, which require a notary seal, should not have to risk their safety in order to secure that notary seal.
Spencer Graves 08:40
Denise Lieberman 08:55
Absolutely. I mean, there's a myriad of voting issues here in Missouri, and there have been quite a long time. And one of them is the so-called Dirty Missouri, amendment three, which will be on the ballot in November. And it's an attempt to roll back reforms that voters passed overwhelmingly in 2018, literally by two thirds to one third in every jurisdiction in the state of Missouri, to impose fair processes for creating those district maps. And the language for that measure is still in court and still pending right now. And that can have a dramatic effect on how we draw district lines, how we count people for purposes of representation, and in a myriad of other ethics reforms that are really critical. And so that measures also pending in court and will be heard soon.
Spencer Graves 09:52
Great, Lauren, so the situation on those issues now in Kansas are not as severe as in Missouri right now, given the status of Fish v. Kobach. Am I right about that?
Lauren Bonds 10:11
So, yeah, we have a different set of problems, luckily, than Missouri. And I would say I feel lucky that they are not quite as extreme at the moment. You know,
Spencer Graves 10:21
They were a couple of years ago.
Lauren Bonds 10:22
Yes, they were a couple years ago, and we still have our fair share of problems. And, you know, one thing I would note is that, unlike in Missouri, Kansas does have a robust absentee ballot and vote-by-mail system. I think, you know, one of the problems that we have here in Kansas is just making sure that, you know, people are actually getting their ballots. There's, you know, instead of this issue of you have to go through all these different steps to verify your identity and the notary requirement, you know, one of our biggest issues here is just we don't have an effective system to deal with the new influx of vote-by-mail applications that we're getting in light of the pandemic. So there's not the infrastructure there. We've gotten, you know, dozens of reports at this point from the primary election of people who requested ballots and just never got them. And unfortunately, we're seeing that there's not a lot of records at either, you know, the county election official office, or the Secretary of State's office of these, you know, ballots ever been requested, even though we have paper trails and receipts from the voter who made the request. So that's not necessarily a legal issue, or there's not really a lot to enjoin. It's in some ways a little bit more challenging, because it's like, how do you build the infrastructure this close to the general elections, so we don't have the same problems.
Lauren Bonds 11:41
And, you know, I would note that we kind of have, you know, the same issues that we've always had: People not being able to register before our pretty far out registration deadline. Photo ID requirements that are too restrictive for people to be able to, you know, verify their identity at the polls and cast their ballot. And then I would also just say kind of all the general issues with COVID that all the states are confronting with people trying to vote in person. You know, we have poll workers who are refusing to wear PPE. We have voters who, you know, are refusing to wear PPE. I think, you know, just generally dealing with this issue. And I think Kansas, as I said, is lucky that we do have a more robust and accessible vote-by-mail system. But at the same time, you know, we need to make sure that in-person voting is accessible and safe as well. And we still have many, many, many steps to take to make sure that those precautions are in place before the general election.
Spencer Graves 12:38
Wonderful. So, Denise, tell us more about the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and what others might do if they wanted to support your work?
Denise Lieberman 12:50
Absolutely. You know, the Missouri Voter Protection coalition is a nonpartisan statewide network that works to protect the right to vote. It's really quite that simple. And we've been convening as a statewide nonpartisan table since 2006. And we effectuate our work through policy advocacy, tracking voting legislation in the legislature, engaging in legal advocacy and litigation like the lawsuit we currently have challenging provisions of Missouri's absentee and mail-in voting laws, engaging in public education. We know that that is so critically important, especially at a time like this where the rules are changing, where there's new laws on the books, where people are experiencing voting in a very, very different way than they have before. That public education effort is so critical.
Denise Lieberman 13:44
And of course, our signature effort, our election protection effort, and I'm wearing the button here. And this is really important for all of your listeners to know is that this is a nonpartisan national hotline. It's live. Anyone across the country can call 866-our-vote, 866-687-8683, and be connected immediately with an attorney, who can address the voting situation that you may be confronting, answer some questions, really wherever you're calling from about the rules in your state and help you navigate the voting process. It's also really important to help document issues that are going on, so that we can effectively advocate with election officials for needed reforms. And in fact, we're in the midst of preparing a report from the August 4 primary elections in Missouri right now.
Spencer Graves 14:39
Wonderful. Lauren: Same question for you. What do you suggest for people in Kansas, who want to support your efforts?
Lauren Bonds 14:52
Absolutely. So if you are interested in helping the ACLU of Kansas protect voting rights here, there are so many ways that you can help and so many ways that you can make sure that you're helping protect the people's right to vote.
Lauren Bonds 15:07
You know, first and foremost, as Denise mentioned, I think, you know, as we're in this run up to the general election, making sure that you are driving people to the hotline and making sure that people are learning about the hotline. We haven't had our election protection effort here in Kansas, as long as, as you know, some of the other states have had. There are really great, robust programs like Denise has been running in Missouri for years.
Lauren Bonds 15:29
And so just letting people know that this resource is out there. Not only is it gonna, as Denise said, you know, help people be connected with an attorney who can advise them of their rights, it's going to help us document and record these problems as they're coming in.
Lauren Bonds 15:44
You know, another really important thing that people can do is they can volunteer. So the ACLU of Kansas, we do have a pretty robust legislative advocacy program. And so much of that depends on actual, you know, residents of Kansas: People who live here being able to go to their elected official and say, you know, we need election day registration. We need, you know, a way to fix all of our provisional ballots.
Lauren Bonds 16:10
And that's going to be probably one of the most important ways that you can make sure that our elections are safe and fair long term is to make sure that we are doing this type of advocacy and we're making the legislative fixes that need to happen.
Lauren Bonds 16:23
And then finally, you can always donate to the ACLU and you can earmark your money for voting issues or if there's other issues that we work on the First Amendment criminal justice reform, protester rights. You can earmark them for your mark your donation for that as well. But there are so many ways that you can get involved in support. And I would advise everyone to go to our website, ACLUkansas.org for those opportunities.
Spencer Graves 16:46
Wonderful. So Denise, how did you get motivated to pursue this kind of work?
Denise Lieberman 16:56
That's a great question. I feel like I've been doing it my whole life. You know, both my parents were elected officials, and I have memories of very, very young, going door to door. My father was a city councilman, helped pass the first fair housing law in the state of Missouri and remember going door to door in our neighborhood, which had been block busted, to help get residents' support for this as a very young child. So I feel like this has always been in my blood.
Denise Lieberman 17:26
But the truth of the matter is that, and I used to work at the ACLU before honing in on voting rights full time and believe very, very firmly in the importance of fighting to secure all of our fundamental freedoms, but really came to hone in on voting rights, because it's really at the core of what gives us our voice. It's what gives us power. It is what gives people self determination. And in individual sense it confers dignity. Right? And it is a really basic tool that we have in society to say that you matter, that you count -- literally: You count.
Denise Lieberman 18:06
And collectively it is a tool to build power that is necessary to enact social change. And so for me fighting to ensure that everybody has a voice, that everybody has a right to exercise self determination, in their own destinies, and having a say in their own lives is absolutely critical. And I truly believe that everybody has a fundamental right to do that. And the vote is the way that we ensure that all people have a right to dignity, to self determination, to control over their own destinies.
Spencer Graves 18:39
Wonderful. Lauren: So how did you get into this?
Lauren Bonds 18:45
Yeah, another good question. And I think, you know, so many good things that Denise highlighted and particularly with voting: It's the right that secures all of your rights.
Lauren Bonds 18:55
But, you know, to that point, you know, it's never lost on me that, you know, I'm kind of the first person in my dad's family who was born with all their rights in this country. You know, after the Voting Rights Act was passed, after all the civil rights legislation, legislation was passed and really perfected our constitution in so many ways.
Lauren Bonds 19:15
And so I've always kind of felt an obligation and a responsibility to make sure that those rights don't get taken away. And you know, you see them being chipped at -- every supreme court session, every, you know, every kind of legislative session. And I just feel like this is, you know, this work is something that's so important for all of us to do, who were so lucky to be born with all of our rights.
Lauren Bonds 19:39
And, you know, on top of that, too, particularly, I'm a native Kansan, I'm either fourth or fifth generation Kansan, I'm not sure; I need to count. So, you know, being able to do this work in the state where, you know, my family's from and where I grew up is particularly important to me. Because I think, you know, freedom and justice and equality: Those are fundamentally Kansas rights. And those are Kansas values. And so I think the ACLU is a very Kansas institution. And so I felt so lucky to work here.
Spencer Graves 20:09
Great. Talk to me about the League of Women Voters. I think both of you have collaborated with them on various things. Denise?
Denise Lieberman 20:24
Sure. Well, you know, the League of Women Voters is a really prominent leader in the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and, you know, has been, you know, leading the way, well, really since, I was going to say since passage of women's suffrage 100 years ago, but actually, long before that, because the organizations that came together that made women's suffrage a reality 100 years ago this year, became the League of Women Voters. Right?
Denise Lieberman 20:52
And they've been fighting for the right to vote ever since. Here in Missouri the League of Women Voters has played a prominent role in waging legal challenges to restrictive voting laws. They were lead plaintiffs in a case from a few years ago we filed challenging restrictive photo ID proposals. They were the plaintiff in a case that we successfully settled last year challenging state's failures to update people's voter registrations under a federal law called the National Voter Registration Act. And now they are also plaintiffs in the current lawsuit that is challenging the notary requirements for absentee and mail-in voters in the state of Missouri.
Denise Lieberman 21:35
But even more than that, they provide really critical educational information to people through their Vote411 website that allows people to be informed voters. And we know that when voters are informed, they participate. And that's absolutely critical.
Spencer Graves 21:56
Wonderful, Lauren, I know Kris Kobach in a press conference a few years back said that he was very concerned with two communist organizations: The League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union. Do you want to comment?
Lauren Bonds 22:17
Sure! Yeah, so, the League of Women Voters has also been a plaintiff in a number of our cases, but in particular documentary proof of citizenship challenge Fish v. Kobach, now Fish v. Schwab. And they play such a critical role in registering people to vote. They are non partisan, as far as I am aware, they have no communist affiliations, as far as I'm aware. And I'm fairly certain that any of the wonderful women and volunteers who work for the League of Women Voters I don't think would identify themselves with any Marxist ideology and definitely not impute that to their organization. That being said, you know, facts don't particularly matter for some of our elected officials. And I think that is not necessarily factual, that they are a communist organization or that the ACLU is, although we would strongly defend the rights of any communist group to associate and in speaking,
Spencer Graves 23:16
as you would defend the rights of Republicans or Democrats or anybody else?
Lauren Bonds 23:21
Spencer Graves 23:23
Exactly. So one of the big issues on the November ballot in let's talk about Missouri again -- just to refresh and you said, 866-our-vote if you see a problem? 866-our-vote. Right, well, Okay, there we are. All right. You have some more comments on that or you think it's already been discussed?
Denise Lieberman 23:53
Yeah, you know, I certainly will encourage anybody to call 866-our-vote. I also want to note that there are language access hotlines. So there is a hotline that is answered entirely in Spanish 888-VE-Y-VOTA is answered in Spanish. It is the Spanish election protection hotline. There's also a hotline answered in six different Asian languages as well as an Arabic language hotline as well to ensure that all people have access to to the resources and support they need.
Denise Lieberman 24:25
So again, knowledge is power. And oftentimes we find that when people are armed with information about their rights, they're able to effectively assert and advocate their rights.
Denise Lieberman 24:36
So that said, there are a lot of important things on the ballot this November. Obviously a presidential election, a very high profile presidential election. And a number of other very high profile candidate elections. But of course here in Missouri as well, there will be the so-called Dirty Missouri, the amendment three, the roll back to the Clean Missouri amendment that could have a real profound effect on reversing some really critical reforms that were passed overwhelmingly by two thirds of Missouri voters in 2018 that provide for really important redistricting reform, ethics reforms, ensure that all people are fairly counted for purposes of redistricting. Stop the partisan gerrymandering that is going on.
Denise Lieberman 25:29
The Clean Missouri amendment that passed in 2018 would ensure a non partisan demographer actually draws the maps. This measure that's on the ballot would take that away and put those maps back in the hands of partisan demographers. It would also say that some people don't count. Right now we count everybody for purposes of representation. This measure would be nearly unprecedented in saying we're not going to count people under the age of 18, even though they're a significant part of our population. We're not going to count non-citizens even though they're a significant part of our population. And that's really a problem. The third thing that Amendment three would do is make it much harder to challenge discriminatory maps in court. And that's always, you know, we already are seeing a lot of difficulties, challenging discriminatory voting laws, since the Supreme Court gutted provisions of the Voting Rights Act back in 2013. And this measure would make it even harder to do so.
Denise Lieberman 26:26
So what we know is that Missourians don't want this. They've already said so. Two thirds of them already voted for these really important reforms that we currently have on the books. So this is going to be a really important measure to ensure that those reforms stay on the books in Missouri.
Spencer Graves 26:43
And before Clean Missouri passed in 2018 Republican Representative Hannah Kelly said, "The Clean Missouri initiative, if passed, will be devastating to Missouri Republicans." I checked: Republicans now hold 71% of the seats in the Missouri House and Senate and 75% of the Missouri delegation in the US House of Representatives. Meanwhile, a 2018 Gallup poll found that 47% of Missouri respondents were Republicans or were leaning Republican. That, of course, raises the question of whether the current 71 and 75% Republican majority in the Missouri General Assembly is the unfair result of unfair gerrymandering.
Denise Lieberman 27:34
Well, I think those numbers speak for themselves, don't they? You know, and that's one of the reasons that two thirds of Missouri voters voted to make the process more fair. You know, I mean, I'm here as a non partisan advocate. The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition is nonpartisan. We don't have a horse in the partisan race. But we do believe that all people should be fairly represented. And that's what clean Missouri sought to do. And what we know is that when you have partisan interests that rig the process and draw these lines, you create a situation where particular communities, disproportionately communities of color, are not able to elect candidates of their choice and have fair and equal representation. And that's something that all people deserve.
Spencer Graves 28:22
Lauren, give me a thumbnail sketch of the status of Fish v. Kobach. The case is not somehow over? So I read Judge Julie Robinson's "Findings of fact and conclusions of law." And the case would have been a comedy if it weren't so serious. I mean, he had this expert witness, Hans von Spakovsky, from the Heritage Foundation, who said that there were something like 3% of people called for jury duty in certain federal jurisdiction were non citizens, and he extrapolated that to the entire US population. On cross examination you or the ACLU attorneys noted that he cited only the upper bound of one of eight federal jurisdictions for which there were data, and the other seven had a maximum of 1%. And four of them had zero. And now, so in any case, Judge Robinson threw out the case or overturned the Documentary Proof of Citizenship requirement. And the appellate court upheld it. But Mr. Schwab, Kobach's replacement, has filed another appeal or something. Do you know? Okay, what can you tell us about that?
Lauren Bonds 29:58
Absolutely. So this case was first decided by a district court, as you mentioned, by Judge Julie Robinson back in June of 2018. There was an ordering
Spencer Graves 30:09
Robinson was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican, by the way,
Lauren Bonds 30:13
She's not a communist as far as I know, either. So yeah, Judge Robinson, she issued this injunction back in June of 2018. In the injunction, she prohibited the requirement of Documentary Proof of Citizenship not only on the federal voter registration form, but also the state voter registration form and finding that not only did that create an unconstitutional burden, but it was preempted by the National Voter Registration Act.
Lauren Bonds 30:40
The Secretary of State's office decided to appeal the decision. That was still when Secretary Kobach was in office. But Secretary Schwab decided to continue that appeal. When he came into office, there was still a chance for them to say, you know, the 10th circuit doesn't need to decide this. We're not going to continue to contest it. That was 100% within his discretion. He decided he wanted to move forward. So I think, you know, there was kind of a sigh of relief when we got a new Secretary of State. But I think we there wasn't a real deep interrogation of who this replacement was.
Lauren Bonds 31:13
And so you know, the case moved forward to the 10th circuit. The 10th circuit agreed with Judge Robinson, upheld the decision in its entirety.
Lauren Bonds 31:23
And we had another opportunity for the Secretary of State to decide whether he wanted to continue to potentially waste taxpayer money to invest time and resources into upholding this law that federal courts have held, you know, twice now is unconstitutional and a violation of federal law. And he decided that he wanted to do that. And so that is where the case is now. It is called a petition for cert to the Supreme Court. It's essentially the system through which you would appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court doesn't have to grant the appeal. But that's very much what the state of Kansas and Secretary Schwab is trying to do, notwithstanding the fact that, you know, that there was a very definitive decision at the district court and the 10th circuit upheld it in its entirety. And it's, you know, incredibly disappointing, I would say. As someone that was hoping that, you know, the Secretary Schwab would be bringing in a new day.
Spencer Graves 32:26
Okay, well, I think we're pretty close to out of time. I want to finish with one personal note here. I concluded decades ago that if the terms of political debate on almost anything remain unchanged for five to 10 years, there's probably more to learn that is not being covered in the mainstream media. And I began to study the research literature and news and histories published in foreign countries on a broad range of subjects and published in academic literature, etc. Invariably I found perspectives that would threaten the social status of those who control the money for the media. And that's why I'm with KKFI, because KKFI broadcasts more or less whatever the volunteers can convince our programming committee and others to allow them to broadcast. We are not censored to please our major funders, because our major funders are, you know, thousands of listeners. In particular, I think the current threats to election integrity can be dramatically reduced if the so called liberal media provided reasonable coverage of the serious evidence on this subject. One more comment: In preparing for this broadcast, I invited four leading Missouri Republicans to comment for the program. Governor Parson's office referred me to the Secretary of State, who declined to comment.
Post script[edit | edit source]
On 2020-08-17, four days after the interview featured in this article, Patrica Joyce, Circuit Judge for Cole County, Missouri, agreed with the plaintiffs, Barbara Pippens and 7 others with the “No on Amendment 3” campaign, who had sued Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft and three others in the Missouri General Assembly: Dave Schatz, Elijah Haahr, and Daniel Hegeman. The lawsuit alleged that the ballot language for Amendment 3 was deceptive and therefore violated Missouri law. Schatz and Hegeman are members of the Missouri Senate, and Haahr is a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. All three had been leaders in securing passage of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 38, which placed Amendment 3 on this November's ballot. On 2020-08-31 a panel for the Missouri Court of Appeals largely agreed with the Cole County Circuit Court judge but ordered different language be published with the summary of Amendment 3 on the November ballot. The attorney general’s office initially said they planned to appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, but decided against it. The deadline for final ballot language is September 8; the official ballot language is given on Ballotpedia.
Other legal challenges continue, asking the court to block voting rules that allegedly disenfranchise many first-time voters, older voters, and voters of color. On 2020-09-22 five organizations (the Organization for Black Struggle, Missouri Faith Voices, the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City chapters of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis section) joined as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed earlier by the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Dēmos and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. This lawsuit describes votes that were disqualified in the August 4 primary because of minor errors such as forgetting to check a box confirming an address; moreover, voters were not notified when their ballots had errors that would lead to disqualification. Denise Lieberman noted that many voters "may end up voiceless again in November unless the court helps to simply streamline this process.”
See also[edit | edit source]
- Electoral integrity in the United States
- Five categories of voter suppression
- Voter suppression and the American Legislative Exchange Council
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Spencer Graves, Wikidata Q56452480.
- Denise Lieberman, Wikidata Q98423741.
- Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Wikidata Q98423968.
- Lauren Bonds, Wikidata Q98424133.
- ACLU of Kansas, Wikidata Q98424218.
- Hannah Kelly, Wikidata Q62686633.
- Hannah Kelly (24 April 2018). "The Truth About Clean Missouri". Medium. Wikidata Q96581738. https://medium.com/missouri-republican-party/the-truth-about-clean-missouri-4205e9d0a9ef. .
- w:Missouri General Assembly, accessed 2020-08-16.
- w:2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Missouri, accessed 2020-08-16.
- Democratic States Exceed Republican States by Four in 2018, Gallup, 22 February 2019, Wikidata Q98431972.
- A careful researcher may wish to see the exact passage summarized in Mr. von Spakovsky's testimony and Judge Robinson's evaluation thereof. The relevant passage in the GAO report can be found on pp. 42-43 (47-48 of 71 in the pdf) of William O. Jenkins, Jr. (June 2005), ELECTIONS: Additional Data Could Help State and Local Elections Officials Maintain Accurate Voter Registration Lists (PDF), Wikidata Q97581324: "[F]ederal jury administrators in eight U.S. district courts provided either exact numbers or estimates [of the number of non-citizens among people called for jury duty]. Of the eight district courts, four federal jury administrators said no one had been disqualified from jury service because they were not U.S. citizens. In the other four district courts:
- a federal jury administrator in one U.S. district court estimated that 1 to 3 percent of the people out of a jury pool of 30,000 over 2 years (about 300 to 900 people) said they were not U.S. citizens;
- a federal jury administrator in a second U.S. district court estimated that less than 1 percent of the people out of a jury pool of 35,000 names each month (less than 350 people) said they were not U.S. citizens;
- a federal jury administrator in a third U.S. district court estimated that about 150 people out of a jury pool of 95,000 names over 2 years said they were not U.S. citizens [less than 0.2 percent]; and
- a federal jury administrator in a fourth U.S. district court estimated that annually about 5 people typically claimed non-citizenship in a jury pool of about 50,000 individuals [0.01 percent].
- Patricia S. Joyce (17 August 2020), Final judgment in the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, regarding the sufficiency and fairness of the legislature-drafted ballot title for Senate Joint Resolution 38 (PDF), Wikidata Q98825323.
- Victoria Antram (1 September 2020). "Missouri Amendment 3 receives third ballot title from state Court of Appeals". Ballotpedia. Wikidata Q98834567. https://news.ballotpedia.org/2020/09/01/missouri-amendment-3-receives-third-ballot-title-from-state-court-of-appeals/. .
- Unpublished communication 2020-09-04 with Chris Nuelle, Press Secretary for Attorney General Schmitt.
- Alisa Nelson (31 August 2020). "Missouri court says redistricting plan’s summary language has ‘major problems’". Missourinet. Wikidata Q98834676. https://www.missourinet.com/2020/08/31/missouri-court-says-redistricting-plans-summary-language-has-major-problems/. .
- Becca Clark-Callender (22 September 2020), Missouri Secretary Of State Sued Over Absentee And Mail-In Ballot Rules, KCUR-FM, Wikidata Q99542749.