Our Legislative Work

Director Juanita Carl and President Cynthia Richards lobbying in the Capital in Jefferson City

For the past two years Missourians for Honest Elections (MOHE) has lobbied in Jefferson City for legislation that would phase out the use of direct-record, touch-screen, vote-counting machines (DREs) and shift Missouri to a hand-marked paper ballot system to help ensure election accuracy and transparency.  While walking the long halls of the Capitol promoting our bills, we have presented legislators with the following facts about DREs:  

they have no real audit capability;

contain proprietary software that cannot be reviewed;

have proved to be mechanically unreliable and easily hacked;

are actually much slower than paper ballots;

are more costly than paper ballots.

Due to our efforts to make these points directly with many of the legislators, representatives and senators on both sides of the aisle now recognize the need to shift to an all-paper ballot voting system.

Last year's bill (HB1000) had a bi-partisan group of twenty-four co-sponsors. It was given a hearing by the House Elections Committee, during which we had the opportunity to testify at length and answer questions (see a reenactment of our testimony at www.mohonestelections.org).  No vote was taken by the Committee, as the hearing occurred too late in the session for the bill to move much further.

This year's bill (HB1490) was an improved version of last year's (the language can be read on our website above).  It, too, had bi-partisan support, but it suffered the unfortunate fate of many other bills this session: it was held up in Speaker Ron Richard's office.  Despite its bi-partisan backing, the many calls from Missouri citizens who wanted it passed, as well as requests from members of the House Leadership Committee to move it forward, the bill was never sent to a committee to be heard.   

While we made little measurable progress this year in Jefferson City, the time we spent there was well worth it.  We learned a great deal about potential obstacles along the path a bill must take before becoming a law, and we were able to further spread the word about why legislation to outlaw DREs is absolutely crucial.   

A big "thank you" to all who have written letters and made calls in support of our bills!!!   And we look forward to your participation as we move toward the 2011 legislative session.


Upcoming Activities and Actions

MOHE will be working this summer to secure sponsors to introduce our DRE legislation in the Missouri House and Senate the first week of January 2011. You can help maintain interest in the issue by reminding your legislators of the five bullet points above, and the need to pass our bill.  You can also refer them to this website:  www.mohonestelections.org.

Many legislators will not be returning to the legislature because of term limits.  You can help to make the DRE issue a campaign issue for the candidates running to replace them.   Call them, or better yet, go to the candidate forums.   State the five points above, and ask who will support our much-needed legislation if elected!! 


Organizational Update

We have two exciting developments to report with regard to our organizational status.  First, MOHE officially registered as a non-profit organization with the state of Missouri last August.  In December, we applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4) organization.  We have reason to believe this will become official sometime within the next two months.  As a 501(c)(4)organization, we will be focusing solely on political advocacy work, continuing our efforts to ensure the accuracy, transparency, and inclusiveness of elections by promoting best election practices at the local, state and federal levels.

The second piece of news is that a separate non-profit organization, the Missourians for Honest Elections Education Fund (MOHEEF) has been created.  MOHEEF's purpose is to continue the educational work that MOHE has been doing over the past five years, informing citizens and organizations about election integrity- related issues through such means as the internet, speaking engagements, press conferences, film screenings, and educational signs at the polls.  MOHEEF has applied for IRS tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization which will allow it to offer a tax deduction to donors for financial contributions.  It, too, is still waiting for word from the IRS. 

MOHE and MOHEEF will work closely together.  But as MOHEEF is a separate organization, future news about MOHEEF's activities will be sent in a separate newsletter.  Be sure to watch for it to stay informed!