Labor Ready as Missouri Republicans Latest to Target Voter Rights

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the entire labor family are rallying to protect voting rights and fighting new efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

Extremists in the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature recently voted to add a new constitutional amendment option to the ballot this November that would make it easier for lawmakers to impose new voting requirements.

If Missouri’s amendment passes, nearly 220,000 registered voters without government issued photo ID could be affected. It would cost the state an estimated $17 million to enforce.

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis railed against the plan in an op-ed published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Voter fraud in the United States is virtually nonexistent. An individual is more likely to be struck by lightning than impersonate a voter at the polls,” write Trumka and Louis. “So without a problem to fix, these laws are being adopted to prevent legitimate votes.”

With more Republican-controlled state legislatures enacting or attempting to push similar laws, the importance of protecting voters’ rights is paramount. With the help of the IAM and AFL-CIO unions, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is actively pushing back against voting restrictions.

In 2015, Democrats introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) to compel states with well-documented histories of recent voting discrimination to clear all voting changes with the federal government.

“Throughout 2016, the labor movement will empower working people with up-to-date information on voting laws. We will encourage our leaders and allies to sign up as poll workers and monitors to help protect the ballot,” said Trumka and Louis. “At the AFL-CIO, we are committed to championing democracy — in the workplace and at the ballot box. We have and will continue to hold every politician accountable for his or her record on voting rights. We are going to forcefully advocate for common-sense reforms to expand voter registration and protection. And we will do everything in our power to defeat voter ID in Missouri.”

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