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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Missouri Dems focus on simplifying voting, campaign finance reform

One proposed amendment would cut the Missouri House's size from 163 members to 103.

Keeping a steady eye on upcoming elections across the state, the Missouri Democratic Party has thrown its support behind three major ballot issues for 2012.

The measures consist of simplifying early voting for residents, working on campaign finance reform and a state Constitutional amendment that would reduce the size of the Missouri House of Representatives from 163 members to 103.

"The issues that we picked are a benefit to the whole, but they're not necessary partisan issues," Missouri Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Montee said. "They're not legislative priorities."

Montee said the Democratic Party selected the ballot issues based on what it thought would be well served by grass roots organization support.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole was unavailable for an interview.

Mizzou College Republicans Chairwoman Sophie Mashburn said making early voter registration easier is something she personally would not be opposed to.

"I don't see that as a very partisan issue," Mashburn said.

MU College Democrats Communications Director Zach Henry said the College Democrats would also support the initiative, especially since it can be hard for residents, including college students with busy schedules, to get to the polls.

"Obviously the Mizzou Democrats support anything that makes voting easier for people, especially students," Henry said.

With regards to campaign finance reform, Mashburn said she would need to know more information about their plans in order to comment.

Henry said he is personally neutral on the subject. He thinks the College Democrats would be in general support of it.

If a state constitutional amendment was passed decreasing the size of the House, the change would not go in effect until the next census in ten years. Missouri's House is one of the largest in the country.

"We're just way out of whack on the size," Montee said. "We're like 18th in population, and the size of our senate falls right in that line. But the size of our House is like fourth in the country."

Henry said he thinks the College Democrats would be in support of the amendment as well.

Mashburn said she does not think she personally agrees with the plan because she thinks redistricting currently favors the Republican Party.

"This doesn't seem like a partisan set of proposals, but I'm sure the Democratic Party has their reasons to do it that would not obviously be intentionally beneficial to the Republican party or conservatives," Mashburn said.

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