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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Group Cleared for Petition Drive to Strengthen Will of Missouri Voters

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 4:28 PM

At first they considered calling it the "Voter Protection Act." Then it was to be called "Will of the People Act." And now, finally, the "Your Vote Counts Act."

But in every one of the eight filings Your Vote Counts has made in recent weeks with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the objective has been the same: to make it more difficult for state lawmakers to overturn ballot issues approved by the people.

This week, the Secretary of State's Office approved the official wording voters will see in November should the group get enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The Cliff Notes: Missouri lawmakers would need a three-fourths majority to overturn a vote by the general public. And the official language:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit the repeal or amendment by the General Assembly of a statute enacted by citizen initiative passed by the voters of Missouri, except by either a three-fourths vote of the members of each house or a vote of the people through a referendum or unless such statute explicitly provides that the general assembly may repeal or amend it by a majority vote of the members of each house?
As Daily RFT was one of the first to report this month, Your Vote Counts comes nipping at the heels of legislation passed this spring in which Missouri lawmakers gutted a ballot issue calling for new regulations for dog breeders.

As it happens, the newly formed Your Vote Counts is backed by the Humane Society of the United States, the same agency that helped pass Prop. B, the anti-puppy-mill initiative passed in November by 51.6 percent of voters only to be dismantled by lawmakers.

Brad Ketcher, treasurer for Your Vote Counts, tells Daily RFT that his organization plans to begin collecting signatures in the next few days. And they'll need to work like dogs to get it. State law mandates that to get an issue on the ballot, you need the signatures of at least eight percent of voters who cast ballots in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

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