In 2018, Missouri voters resoundingly voted to create an independent redistricting commission in order to prevent partisan gerrymandering. How did the Missouri Republicans respond? Not so surprisingly, they’ve done everything they can to brush aside the will of the voters. Republicans attempted to roll back the redistricting rules voted on by Missourians. Missouri state House Republicans voted overwhelmingly (HJR 46, 47, 48) to undo the redistricting changes. Fortunately, the bill died in the State Senate.

Republican resistance to pro-democracy policies was not only related to partisan gerrymandering, but also to maintaining unnecessary barriers to voting. Missouri is one of only 12 states that offers neither no-excuse absentee voting or any form of early voting. Yet Missouri Republicans have resisted any measures to remove obstacles for citizens to register to vote. This session, Missouri Democrats introduced multiple measures to make voter registration fairer for Missourians. Missouri Democrats have fought to introduce no-excuse absentee voting (HB 992), but the bill did not pass. Missouri Democrats also introduced legislation (HJR 5HB 994) to introduce early voting, but again Republican opposition doomed the measure. Democratic initiatives to establish same day registration (SB 384) and expanding locations for voter registration (HB 993) also failed. Finally, Republican control of the Missouri legislature also led to a bill (HB 624) introducing automatic voter registration to fail.

Missouri Democrats also unsuccessfully tried to make voting more accessible for voters. Dem lawmakers introduced legislation to establish no-excuse absentee voting (SB 171), early voting (HRJ 5), and allowing individuals over 60 to vote absentee (HB 202), all of these measures failed.

Democrats also worked to restore voting rights for individuals with felony convictions once they are no longer incarcerated (HB 508). The bill would allow individuals on parole or probation to vote. Restoring the right to vote is an important act to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated citizens back into the community.

Missouri Democrats also introduced legislation (HB 276) that would restrict purges of voter rolls, but the measure failed.

Missouri Republicans have continued to chase non-existent widespread voter fraud and advanced a bill (HB 269) that would give the Missouri Secretary of State subpoena power to search for voter fraud. Missourians deserve politicians who will fight for their voting rights, not waste time chasing a myth.