Why Does Missouri State Rep. Mike Parson Hate Voters So Much?

Fri, Jan 22 2010 by Anonymous

Missouri State Rep. Mike ParsonMike Parson hates voters, that is the only thing we can conclude. Why else would he try year after year to gut Missouri voters’ ballot initiative process?

In 2009, Rep. Parson submitted a bill that would have banned paying campaign workers who circulate petitions by the signature and required those workers to be Missouri residents to work on a petition drive. Of course both payment per signature bans and residency requirements have both been ruled unconstitutional. Rep. Parson even admitted last year that parts of his bill “might be unconstitutional”. His bill also called for signatures to be tossed if the person who collected them violates the law, as though the person holding a clipboard while a voter signs has anything to do with whether that voter is properly registered and should have their signature count.

This year, Parson is going a more direct route. Instead of trying to place so many restrictions on who can help voters petition their government that it becomes impossible to do so, he wants to set the bar so high to qualify for the ballot that even an army of campaign workers couldn’t do it. His House Joint Resolution 63 would effectively double the number of signatures needed for both constitutional amendments and statutory initiatives. This would take the requirements from signatures equal to 8% of voters in the last election for governor in six of nine congressional districts to 15% for a constitutional amendment, and from 5% to 10% for a statutory initiative.

The 15% requirement for a constitutional amendment would add Missouri with Arizona and Oklahoma on the list of states with the highest signature requirements. While five states - Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Utah and Nevada - require 10% to qualify a statutory initiative, only Wyoming’s requirement, at 15%, is higher. It’s worth mentioning that Wyoming voters haven’t seen a citizen initiative on the ballot in 14 years.

Rep. Parson’s attempts to restrict the process were slapped down by pro-initiative activists last year. We suspect a repeat.