The St. Louis League was founded on Nov. 13, 1919. Its Citizenship School taught civics to more than 450 area women in its first year. The League continues to educate and empower voters as a nonpartisan, non-profit organization. Agnes Garino made this slide presentation for the League's 100th gala.
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Mission: Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy
Vision: We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate.
LWV of Metro St. Louis sponsored the 2020 St. Louis Women's March. Members shared information, gathered petition signatures and showed our support for the Equal Rights Amendment.
Fight for Fair Maps
The League of Women Voters defended Clean Missouri at a Senate Rules Committee hearing on SJR38 on Jan. 14. Metro Vice President Angie Dunlap told Senators that Amendment 1 reforms strengthen all voters' voices. "For 100 years the League of Women Voters has worked for an accessible, transparent and representative government. Today we continue the effort for accessibility and transparency. Today we continue to work for FAIR maps to have a truly representative government."
Voters in every state senate district approved Amendment 1 in 2018. LWV of Metro St. Louis Co-President Louise Wilkerson said, "The resolutions introduced in both houses would drop Amendment 1's independent demographer, hide the data used for the final maps and set a weaker race equity standard. Instead of improving our redistricting process after the 2020 Census, SJR38 would give political parties more power and allow an unprecedented level of racial and political gerrymandering."
League endorses Prop D
St. Louis unit leader Kathleen Farrell and board member Joan Hubbard spoke in favor of Prop D for Democracy at a news conference at city hall. The measure would make city elections more fair with a system of approval voting in non-partisan primary followed by a top-two runoff. "Too many times we have elected city officials with less than 40% of the vote," Farrell said. "The people, not special interests should decide who runs our city."
"Our board members carefully considered the STL Approves initiative and found that Prop D ensures that the candidate with the most support from voters would win elections for many offices in St. Louis City," Hubbard added.
Petitions are available in the League office. For more information, go to https://stlapproves.org/.
Luncheon Speaker Alerts Crowd to Gerrymandering Proposals
At the Dec. 7 Holiday Luncheon, Senator Jill Schupp shared her concerns about three Senate bills that were just pre-filed to undo Clean Missouri's reforms and allow more partisan gerrymandering. All three bills eliminate the independent demographer and change the criteria to make compact districts more important than fairness and competitiveness. Two of the bills would only count registered voters instead of the entire population when legislative maps are drawn. Schupp said it will be difficult to stop the super majority from getting "Cleaner Missouri" on the ballot in 2020 to undermine the reforms 62 percent of voters approved in 2018.
Schupp also expressed concern about a proposal to make it more difficult to get a petition initiative on the ballot and support for an early voting bill. For more photos, go to League Events.
The Celebration of a Century
At the Nov. 13 banquet, the St. Louis League celebrated its centennial and honored its leaders. Pictured above are Ida West and special guests Elena Oliverira and Gay Gellhorn, granddaughter of the first Missouri President, Edna Gellhorn, with current co-presidents Nancy Miller and Louise Wilkerson. For more images from the gala, see Photos in the menu on the left. See the presentation on the honorees by clicking this link. For the banquet program, click here
State Settles Lawsuit, Will Improve Voter Registration at License Offices
The state of Missouri has agreed to improve voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) license offices to settle a League lawsuit against the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue (DOR). The lawsuit filed by LWV of Missouri and the A. Philip Randolph Institute in April 2018 accused the state of violating the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by not automatically updating voter information after residents change addresses.
As part of the settlement, DOR will redirect residents to the Secretary of State's voter registration website when they change their address at DMV license offices. DOR also agreed to improve voter registration services by changing in-person and mailed change-of-address request, conduct audits, publish data and designate an NVRA coordinator to ensure compliance with the settlement.
"Each year, disenfranchisement occurs when Missouri voters appear at the polls and find out that they are not registered at their current address," says LWVMO President Evelyn Maddox. "While there are other improvements the League would like to see to make it easier to register and vote, these changes at DMV license offices will bring Missouri closer to full compliance and reduce the number of qualified voters being shut out of the political process."
Members approve gun policy
At the Sept. 19 Fall Kickoff, members adopted a gun policy to the 2019-20 program to make it a priority for advocacy. The policy says: Protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semiautomatic weapons. Support regulation of firearms for consumer safety.
Speaker Denise Lieberman of the Advancement Project said her group is dedicated to equal access to democracy for all. She said, "2020 is shaping up to be one of the most important elections of our lifetime."
Calling for Honest Elections
More than 200 people attended a Sept. 16 town hall on Ethics in St. Louis County Government. Nancy Miller moderated the cross-partisan event. Sponsors included the League, St. Louis County NAACP, NCJW, Show Me Integrity and American Promise.
Above, Agnes Garino poses with the suffragist cut-out at Kirkwood's Greentree Festival and Girl Scouts Elena Oliveira and Madison Gruenenfelder stop by the League office. For information on the League's merchandise, go to https://lwvmissouri.org/shop-2/.
Below, State President Evelyn Maddox with Nancy Miller, Jean Dugan, Nancy Price and lawyers in the League's suit against the Secretary of State's implementation of the photo ID law. On Aug. 20, Maddox testified in Cole County Court that voters are confused about the ID requirements and that they can present a barrier to voting.
Jean Dugan, Louise Wilkerson, Nancy Price and Catherine Stenger joined other League members in Jefferson City on July 8 as Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft presented a proclamation recognizing the Centennial of the League and Missouri's ratification of the 19th Amendment. They stand by a plaque the League installed in the Capitol in 1931 "as a tribute to the those women in Missouri whose courageous work opened the opportunities of complete citizenship to all women in the state."
The League remembers the suffragists that 100 years ago worked so hard to get the vote for women. On the 4th of July, we marched with the Girl Scouts in the Webster Groves parade to show off our 100-year history, our service today and the bright future we envision.
State Convention Focuses on Making Voting Easier
The 64th state convention featured several speakers on election reform. On Friday, Alicia Gurrieri from LWVUS presented a workshop to help League members empower voters and defend democracy.
Keynote speaker Amber McReynolds explained how she worked to get comprehensive election reform in Colorado, including automatic voter registration and address changes, mail-in ballots and central vote centers. "Let's make the voting experience something everyone can celebrate," she told LWVMO convention delegates. The former director of elections for Denver, she is now the Executive Director for the National Vote at Home Institute. She was introduced by Eric Fey, Director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones updated the convention on proposed election reforms "to ensure an effective government of, by and for the people." She called Amendment 1 "a tremendous victory to clean up Missouri politics." After commending the League for its work for American democracy, she challenged delegates to block legislation now in the Missouri Senate to override voter wishes and make it easier to gerrymander. She also shared some exciting opportunities to make positive lasting changes for voters, including approval or ranked choice voting.
Members Enjoy Centennial Tea
The League kicked off its 100th birthday celebration with a March 24 tea at the St. Louis Woman's Club. Other upcoming Centennial events include a Suffragist tour of Bellefontaine Cemetery on Thursday, May 2, summer parades and a banquet Nov. 13 at the Sheldon.
Pictured above are LWV of Metro St. Louis co-presidents Nancy J. Miller and Louise Wilkerson.
Poster Encourages Students to Register to Vote
Laura Champion from Rockwood's Lafayette High School won the League's statewide poster contest to promote youth voter registration. The League of Women Voters of Missouri is sending a copy of Champion's poster to more than 700 high schools in Missouri
"The colors make it more exciting and enthusiastic, which is my stance on getting people to vote," Champion said upon getting her $500 prize. "I'm passionate about having people's voices heard."
Defending Clean Missouri
Voters approved Amendment 1 by a large margin (62-38) on Nov. 6. The League is asking legislators to respect Missouri voters and oppose attempts to gut the bill's anti-gerrymandering provisions and other new reforms.
Nancy Miller, Co-President of LWV of Metro St. Louis, stresses the need for Amendment 1's redistricting reform. "The League's position is that political and racial gerrymandering distort and undermine representative democracy."
Our League was founded Nov. 13, 1919. To kick off the League's second century and celebrate the August 2020 Centennial of the 19th Amendment, the League would like to invite you to join the 100th Anniversary Hundred Dollar Club.
Club membership is a $100 donation. Membership entitles you to advance notice of numerous celebrations the Centennial Committee is planning in 2019 and 2020 with the theme "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow."
Membership Dues include membership to LWV of Missouri, and LWV of United States. Find out more or Join Now Online!
All donations to our non-partisan, non-profit organization are tax-deductible.