Advocates Condemn Signing of Harmful Voting Bill in Missouri
Missouri Voter Protection Advocates:
Today, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law H.B. 1878, the controversial voting bill passed by lawmakers last month. Our statement is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 29, 2022
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Missouri Voter Advocates Condemn Signing of Voting Bill
H.B. 1878 undermines elections and prevents Missourians from having their voices heard at the ballot box
(ST. LOUIS, MO) - Missouri voter protection advocates Wednesday condemned Governor Michael Parson’s signing of H.B. 1878, a controversial omnibus elections bill passed by the General Assembly last month. The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, which lead statewide efforts in opposition to the bill, urged Governor Parson to veto the measure, saying it “upsets the balance of powers in elections, and creates undue and needless barriers to participation for Missouri's voters.”
“We are disappointed that Governor Parson did not consider the voters of Missouri who will be harmed by H.B. 1878,” said Denise Lieberman, Director & General Counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, which is considering a legal challenge to some of the bill’s provisions. “H.B. 1878 is breathtaking in the ways it undermines our elections - hampering voter registration drives, making it illegal to help people get absentee ballot applications, enshrining an unconstitutional strict photo ID provision, allowing the Secretary of State to order voters removed from the rolls at his discretion, allowing partisan lawmakers to be part of challenges to voting laws, opening the door to sham audits and more.” More than 2,000 Coalition partners from nearly 150 cities in Missouri signed a letter to Governor Parson to: “Please VETO H.B. 1878 to uphold the rights of all Missourians to free, fair and accessible elections.”
MOVPC partners have vowed to continue to fight the barriers to the ballot contained in H.B. 1878.
Nimrod Chapel, Jr., President of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP, said: “We will work with the community to make sure the rights of Missouri voters are restored and everyone can have their vote counted. The NAACP has long raised concerns about Missouri’s efforts to implement a discriminatory voter ID law, and it is one of the reasons we have issued a travel advisory for the state. Democracy in Missouri is not a safe place for black voters.” The NAACP was a plaintiff in a 2017 challenging a prior iteration of Missouri’s photo ID law and vowed to take the matter to court again.
Marilyn McLeod, President of the League of Women Voters of Missouri, which was also a plaintiff in the prior legal challenge, said: “The right to vote is our most basic right and is the cornerstone of all of our rights. This legislation provides unnecessary roadblocks to our most basic right. Among its many provisions, it requires an extremely limited form of ID to be able to vote which will disenfranchise thousands of citizens who are fully qualified to vote. It allows unnecessary voter purges, makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to vote independently, prevents local election authorities from receiving grant funds to improve their outreach to the citizenry; prohibits voter registration efforts by organizations that have staff providing that service; as well as many other limiting provisions. Limiting the right to vote for some citizens is a limit to the right to vote for all citizens.”
Rev. Darryl Gray, Executive Director of Missouri Faith Voices, said: “This blatant attack on black Missourians is an attack against our basic rights and freedom. Black people and our allies will not sit idle while our basic human rights are threatened, we will meet this threat in the courts, the ballot box, and the streets if necessary.”
“We have fought long and hard for the right to vote; to see the clock turning back now is devastating,” said Patricia Jones-Macklin with the Greater Kansas City Chapter of A. Philip Randolph Institute, who Chairs MOVPC’s Election Protection Program in Kanas City. “We cannot stop now. We must fight for our right to vote, and we must exercise our right to vote!”
Sal Valadez, co-chair of MOVPC’s Language Access Committee, who lead a statewide conversation with Governor Parson expressing concerns about the voter ID proposal during 2022 Hispanic Day at the Capitol, said that H.B. 1878 would have a disparate impact on Missouri’s Hispanic population. “There are members in our Latino community and other communities who can vote, but they don’t drive. Our system is not broken. But these are voter restrictions for us as a minority community.”
Kristi Branstetter, a Kansas City organizer who is a member of MOVPC’s Accessibility Committee expressed concerns about H.B. 1878’s impact on voters with disabilities: “Everyone’s voice needs to be heard at the voting booth. It is especially important for people with disabilities to have their voices heard. HB 1878 will restrict people with disabilities because not everyone has access to a photo ID and not everyone can get transportation to engage in the voting process. I do not drive and I have experienced this.”
Jennifer Slavik Lohman, who chairs MOVPC’s Anti-Disinformation Working Group said: “Lawmakers leveraged disinformation about our elections to manufacture a pretext for unnecessary, suppressive legislation. Their brazen manipulation of irrational fears about fictional problems is an outrageous attack on our freedom to vote, and is nothing short of election sabotage. Missourians everywhere should be shocked and angry at this attack on our free and fair elections.”
The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition is a nonpartisan statewide network of advocates that advance the freedom to vote for all Missourians through policy advocacy, strategic litigation, voter education and Election Protection.
Missouri Voter Protection Coalition