By MIKE LOUIS
Missouri AFL-CIO president
While it seems like the presidential election is dominating the news, social media, interpersonal conversations and pretty much everything else these days, it's important to keep in mind that there are other elections and numerous state and local ballot initiatives to vote for this year, too. One of the most extreme and dangerous ballot initiatives comes from Missouri. Here's why you should vote "no" on Missouri's Amendment 6.
You have to hand it to the forces behind Missouri's Amendment 6. They sure are creative in trying to trick the state's voters. Their agenda is nothing but bad ideas, and since they have little chance of getting those ideas past the voters by telling the truth, they stick to misleading and dishonest attempts to trick Missourians into changing the rules.
Amendment 6 is one of those tricks. They are literally trying to get you to vote to make it harder for you to vote in the future. Yep, Amendment 6 is a "solution" in search of a problem. In-person voter fraud, the "problem" the amendment proposes to fix, is so rare that the amendment would prevent more legitimate voters from casting their ballot than it would fraudulent voters. People trying to stack election outcomes just don't resort to in-person voter fraud. Instead, they pass laws like this one, that make it hard for citizens to vote.
On Oct. 23, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler was in Missouri. From her remarks:
"I want to tell you about Amendment 6 that is on the ballot on Nov. 8. And when you leave this sanctuary today, I want you to tell your family, friends and neighbors. I want you to tell anyone who will listen. Amendment 6 would use Missouri’s Constitution—a document of rights—to block legally registered Missourians from voting. And not just any Missourians. Black folks. Brown folks. Seniors. Students. The disabled. Veterans. This is nothing less than a 21st century poll tax. It’s Jim Crow with a coat of paint. It is extremely costly and unnecessary. And it is a direct attack on your resilience and resistance."
If Amendment 6 passes, it would create confusion for more than 200,000 Missourians who already are legally registered to vote. Many of them would be turned away and not allowed to vote at all. And, not surprisingly, the effects of the law wouldn't be distributed evenly among Missouri voters. This law would have a disproportionate effect on African Americans, seniors, students, people with disabilities, people of color and veterans. For some, voting would be impossible. And because the amendment is so poorly worded, it could lead to voters who don't have the right ID being charged with perjury for nothing more than trying to vote.
Keep in mind these are the same people pushing "right to work," a policy that would take rights away from working people. While Missouri needs lawmakers who will focus on the issues that are important to the state's working people, these "leaders" are instead distracting voters. And it doesn't just distract from other priorities, it takes money away from them, too. The amendment includes no funding mechanism and would cost $17 million to implement. Instead of punishing people for trying to vote, lawmakers should be spending time and money focusing on problems that need real attention, like rebuilding the state's roads and bridges and making sure schools have the tools they need to help students succeed. It's the right thing to do, both morally and for the future of Missouri.
Vote "no" on Missouri's Amendment 6