This afternoon, the Missouri General Assembly Committee on Elections and Elected Officials held a public hearing on five bills proposing new restrictions on ballot initiatives.
Missourians Want Their Voices To Be Heard
Rep. Peggy McGaugh, chair of the committee, remarked that “quite a bit more” witnesses appeared to testify against the five bills than in favor of the bills to limit the ballot initiative progress, and witnesses from across the state came to Jefferson City to speak out against the legislation.
“When we send a message to the legislature, we mean it,” remarked a witness from St. Charles who self-identified as a Republican. “I am embarrassed and scared of some of the representatives’ intentions, even in my own party… Get this straight, you work for us… Stop taking away our rights.”
“The League of Women Voters of Missouri (LWVMO) is opposed to any efforts by the General Assembly to make [the ballot initiative process] even more difficult,” said Marilyn McLeod, President of the League of Women Voters of Missouri. “The citizen initiative petition process is the most direct form of voter participation in our democracy…The people resort to the initiative petition, especially regarding changes to the Constitution, only because they feel their voice isn’t being heard.
Majority Wants To Essentially Get Rid Of The Ballot Initiative Process
Two bills proposed by Rep. Davidson would require a majority of registered voters to vote in favor of a ballot initiative to pass the initiative, as opposed to a majority of votes in that election.
As an example of the damage this would cause, Rep. Woods mentioned that in 2010, 83.7% of voters approved a ballot measure concerning real estate taxes. Under Rep. Davidson’s laws, that measure would not have passed.
When asked if the legislature could purposely manipulate when ballot measures were put on the ballot to limit their passage, Rep. Davidson admitted “that’s a concern, but not one that can be addressed.”
The MO House Doesn’t Trust the Voters
Throughout the testimony, the Republican majority and its supporters repeated one line of thinking: Missouri voters don’t understand enough to vote on the issues. It’s disgusting that the Republican legislators think voters don’t deserve a voice in our laws.
We believe in the people of Missouri. We think Missourians are smart, understand their values, and deserve a seat at the table in our state government.
Posted January 25, 2023