ALEC Co-Chairs Cosponsor GOP Voter Suppression Measure
Missouri Co-Chairs Tim Jones and Jason Smith Do Their Part in National ALEC Effort to Suppress Vote
Jefferson City, MO -- Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones and Rep. Jason Smith, co-chairs for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Missouri, have formally co-sponsored ballot language intended to “to suppress the votes of young people, minorities, poor people, elderly people and disabled people.” HCR53 was filed last week in the Missouri House in response to a judge’s ruling that the ballot summary written by GOP leaders for their suppression measure was misleading to voters. The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Shane Schoeller, and co-sponsored by Jones, Smith, Speaker Steve Tilley and three other representatives.
HCR53 is scheduled to be heard in the House Elections Committee Tuesday, April 3, at 8:30 a.m.
“This is just the latest in a national effort by regressive politicians to help their candidates in close elections,” said Sean Soendker Nicholson, Director of Progress Missouri. “Politicians like Shane Schoeller and Bill Stouffer who push these laws never acknowledge their real purpose, which is to turn away from the polls people who are more likely to support progressive candidates -- particularly the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities.”
ALEC has been a driving force behind voter suppression legislation like that seen in Missouri, and it’s no surprise that Representative Jones and Smith have signed on to the effort. The Associated Press reported in March 2012 that ALEC is behind “a surge” of photo ID bills across the country. From the AP’s 3/5/12 story:
Five states passed a strict photo ID requirement last year: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas and South Carolina. In each case, lawmakers integral to passing the bills have either confirmed or reported ALEC ties. A sixth state, Mississippi, enacted a constitutional amendment requiring photo ID in an initiative process begun by a lawmaker reported to have served on an ALEC task force.
The new hurdles to voting pushed by Schoeller, Jones, Smith and ALEC have been condemned by editorial boards, activists, community groups and leaders across the state. Here’s a partial list of nonpartisan condemnations:
- Post-Dispatch: It's pitch perfect that Voter ID measure tossed as a fraud
- Joplin Globe: "[Schoeller's proposal] would go a long way to further disenfranchise voters"
- Post-Dispatch: Voter ID limits constitutional right, should be vetoed
- St. Louis American: Nixon should veto voter photo ID
- Star: Reject legislation making it more difficult to vote
- Columbia Tribune: Voter ID; A bad bill. Kill it.
- Post-Dispatch: Akin makes the case that Voter ID is bad law
- Gov. Nixon's veto letter for 2011 bill
- Joplin Globe: Creating a problem
- NYTimes: The Myth of Voter Fraud
- NYTimes: The Republican Threat to Voting
According to the Center for Media and Democracy, ALEC co-founder Paul Weyrich told a group of religious conservatives in 1980: "I don't want everybody to vote ... our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Last month, a Wisconsin judge issued an injunction against Wisconsin's photo ID law, based on an ALEC model.