Grab your popcorn & a coke - this is a long one.
Here's the "Table of Contents" if you will:
- The Backstory
- The MO Republican Platform
- Fast Forward - Rep McGaugh and Her Bill, HB 781
- Truth is Revealed in the Hearing
- Threats?? I Wish I Was Joking
- Her LEA Friends are Worn Out
- Rep Stacy Asks Questions and Leadership is Mad
- Call to Action
the backstory - 2022 mo Election bill passed
During the 2022 Missouri legislative session, the republicans cheered, shouted & waved their banner of victory because of the amazing election integrity bill they passed. They carried it like a trophy back home to their districts touting what a success the session had been. After all, they were the ones responsible for the new requirement for voter ID!
To that Missourians responded, "Yay!"... and there were pats on backs of republican legislators all across Missouri.
Well, part of that bill (HB 1878) included the OPTION for Missouri voters to affiliate with a political party on their voting record. The summary of this portion of the bill as per the bill page linked here is as follows:
DECLARING A POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION
Under current law, voters are not required to declare a political party affiliation when registering to vote. This amendment requires any person registering to vote to declare a political party affiliation, beginning January 1, 2023. The options for political party affiliation shall include all established political parties. Voters are entitled to choose to be unaffiliated with any political party as well. If a voter does not designate any political party affiliation, then the election authority shall designate the voter as unaffiliated. A voter can change his or her political party affiliation at any time by notifying his or her election authority in the manner described in the amendment.
NOTE: It was Representative Dan Stacy who submitted that language and although he was unsuccessful getting it added to a bill in the House he was successful in getting it added as an amendment when it went through in the Senate. If you ask me, this is what good legislators do. They work hard to get their language added to acceptable pieces of legislation in order to accomplish their goal. Great job, Rep Stacy!
the missouri republican platform
Not many voters know the actual platform of either party. I'm not judging. I didn't either, until a few short years ago when I got more involved. However, I did know the gist of what is considered to be the republican priorities - small government, lower taxes, fiscally conservative, pro-life, etc. and I did know that there seemed to be a lot of republicans who weren't voting that way.
The reality is that the Missouri Republican Platform is pretty lengthy and specific. In truth, when you run as a republican on any ballot, you are expressing to voters that you align with these principles and voters can expect you to vote and represent your constituents accordingly.
And frankly.. if you decide to run as any type of candidate, you ought to be expected to READ and understand the platform you’re running on!
That's the way it should be, at least.
Anything less than that is a misrepresentation of yourself and your intentions, imho.
Candidates are literally lying to the people just by running on a platform they have no intention of supporting. It happens every election cycle and it's why the Republican party is such a train wreck and not unified. We've got every party under the sun - including life long democrats - who run as a Republican because that's the only way they can get elected.
In regard to this issue of voters declaring a party affiliation, the Missouri Republican Platform says this:
"...the Missouri Republican Party SUPPORTS: ...
Establishing closed primaries requiring all voters casting a ballot to declare a partisan affiliation and make maintaining such declarations as public record."
Therefore, our republican representatives should be EXPECTED to uphold this tenet. Republican voters would assume that our republican legislators would cast their vote in support of this principle. We shouldn't have to voice our support, because it would be expected that a republican elected official in Missouri would agree with and support closed primaries and working toward that end.
Thank you, Rep Stacy for including it in the election bill last year and working toward our republican goals!
Fast forward to thursday, feb 2, 2023
Representative peggy mcgaugh & her bill
Representative Peggy McGaugh was appointed Chair of the Elections and Elected Officials Committee by Speaker of the House Dean Plocher. As Chairperson, Rep McGaugh gets to choose which bills the committee will hear. Of course, all the Chairs choose theirs as early as possible - that's part of the benefit of being the Chair, after all.
NOTE: Rep Dan Stacy is the Vice-Chair of the Elections and Elected Officials Committee
So Rep McGaugh has filed HB 781 with a couple of primary goals in mind and she brought it before her committee Thursday, February 2, 2023. Her bill does the following:
1. Removes the ability for voters to affiliate with their party which repeals the language that was passed in 2022. It's interesting to note that she voted for that bill. This repeal would directly contradict the MO Republican platform goal of closed primaries and she knows it. See video clips below!
2. Adds a class one election offense and felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for,
"Disseminating through any means, including by posting on the internet, the personal information of the family of an election official with the intent to harass, intimidate, or influence such official in the performance of his or her duties. For the purpose of this subdivision, "personal information" includes home address, Social Security number, federal tax identification number, checking or savings account numbers, marital status, and identity of a child under eighteen years of age. For the purpose of this subdivision, the term "election official" includes election judges, challengers, watchers, and other volunteers or employees of an election authority."
The problem with this last addition to the statute is that the crux of it is proving intent, it applies to literally thousands of election volunteers and it carries a punishment of up to 5 years in PRISON & up to $10,000 in fines for what could be a text or a social media comment.
The language is too broad and is a potential risk to Missourians ESPECIALLY if they are sue happy or paranoid or just angry and have an axe to grind.
Also, marital status is included. So... if I make a phone call, send an email or text or make a post or comment on social media that somehow connects a person to their spouse, that could fit this definition.
This is too broad and it's concerning as to how this would affect someone's 1st amendment right of free speech since it only requires a judgement about intent to be made.
I'm not trying to defend harassment and our election officials shouldn't be bullied -ever - but you'll see in the videos below that Rep McGaugh is pretty quick to throw out the question, "Are you threatening me?" when that was obviously the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, she referenced being threatened at least twice in the hearing when as far as I could tell, she was just angry that she was being asked questions she didn't want to answer.
What happens when a volunteer or election worker perceives or even just claims there was a threat that could land you in prison for 5 years?
She's filing this same language in another bill that would apply to ALL county elected officials. Yikes!
What happens to me if I write this blog and mention that she's married a year from now and this statue is in place and she sees it and gets mad? Am I going to be taken to court by someone in a position that uses government funds to prosecute me because I've told the truth and someone is offended and claims my intent was to harass or intimidate?
It's time to hold them accountable, not turn a blind eye. And I think that's ok. I'm so sick of the censorship. BUT...that's not even what caused all the ruckus at the hearing.
Everyone but Rep Windham seems to agree with her. He’s my favorite democrat. He’s really a smart guy and always thinks critically, has great comments and questions and he offers them respectfully.
truth is revealed in the hearing
If you don't have snacks & a coke...GET THEM NOW!
I actually attended this hearing myself but had to leave early. However, some friends stayed for the duration so when the texts started coming in I had to find the archive and watch it for myself.
Holy cow! It got interesting so I’ve got to share it with you.
I've clipped snippets of the hearing and uploaded them to my You Tube channel so you can watch them quickly. They are numbered for your convenience. However, I have also uploaded both of Rep McGaugh's introduction videos (1 & 2) if you'd like background info on her and her complete presentation on the bill as well as Rep Stacy's entire inquiry in case you want to watch those sections in their entirety. I do not want to be accused of grabbing sound bites and leading you astray so if you have time, please watch the larger sections all at once.
Also, you can watch the entire hearing on the House website. Just find the Elections Committee hearing on the list that met on 2/2/23 and click on it.
Remember: Rep Peggy McGaugh is Chairperson & Rep Dan Stacy is Vice-Chair
Peggy is trying to repeal Dan's party affiliation language from the 2022 election bill. Can you see how this is gonna go already??
In this first clip, Representative McGaugh says parties shouldn't vet their candidates. Excuse me!? Uh...yep. Peg... It's high time the Republican Party starts vetting their candidates! And btw, your clerks have to run on a platform so that's a lame excuse. Everyone knows they run on a party platform and I dang sure think the voters deserve to know if they are being honest about that or not.
In fact, I don’t care if we are talking about a nonpartisan race like school board. Your party affiliation helps voters know your ideology and how you will run your office.
Maybe there was a time it didn’t matter. But today, there’s a night & day difference between a Republican and a Democrat and I would prefer NOT to have a democrat sitting on my school board if I can help it… And definitely not my health board.
In fact, I’d choose Republican every time in every race at this point to avoid putting an official in place that would support and make decisions in alignment the democrat platform.
In this second clip, she says she wonders if this is a step toward closed primaries. Yes, Peggy, it is. You know it and we know it. There are 32 other states that do it and there is case law that says the party has a RIGHT to gather this information AND the people have a right to associate with whomever they choose. The only problem here is the Clerk's Association doesn't like it. This is ALL about Peggy's favorite special interest group, NOT the citizens and NOT standing on the platform she ran on.
If you weren't sure, she's just spells it out in this one:
threats?? I wish i was joking
Here's where it gets interesting. Rep McGaugh seems particularly interested in being a victim and she focused on how her clerk friends could be victims as well. I'm beginning to wonder maybe if she actually belongs with the democrats. All of them were really supportive of her & her bill. That’s interesting. The Republicans were just silent, of course, except for Rep. Stacy.
In her comments early on in the hearing she made a declaration that there are just a lot of angry people out there, especially the ones who have heard or believe that there's been some sort of election fraud. Hmm. Again... yes.
When we see irregularities and election fraud happening around the nation it's pretty upsetting, Representative. I'd sure think you'd make THAT your highest priority... but that doesn't seem to be the case.
You want to preventatively protect election workers. There is another group who wants to preventatively protect our elections.
But I digress. Let’s get back on track.
Rep McGaugh is obviously antsy about being threatened and keeping everyone safe from all the bad guys of the world. So much so that in the middle of his inquiry, she gets more and more agitated while he stays calm asking the questions he's prepared for her. She's obviously getting flustered and one of the democrats pops up to accuse him of badgering her!
Then, a little later on, after he asks a question that she doesn't like, she just straight up asks him... check it out.
This attitude of hers makes me wonder just what she'd be encouraging her LEA friends to do in regard to that new language she's trying to implement that adds election offenses. If asking a question is a threat, I'm more than a little concerned about what else might be construed that way.
Check this one out and tell me who is badgering who...
her lea friends are wore out
OK, Rep McGaugh has made her point. The LEA's are worn out and don't want closed primaries. They don’t want to deal with people and their affiliations. That's that.
To that I say that maybe they don’t like the job description and they need to move on.
It doesn't matter too much to McGaugh what the PEOPLE think, apparently, because she's confident in her re-election regardless. I’d venture to say that she needs only to take a gander down the hall to Senator Carter’s office to realize that might not be the case. But I’d better not, because she might feel threatened or claim I intended to harass her. 🙄
rep stacy asks questions and leadership is mad?
Yep! That's the word on the street.
Representative Stacy asked her questions she didn't want to answer, she got triggered and sassy, claims she was threatened by the inquiry and now rumor has it that apparently she's throwing a fit and House leadership is fit to be tied. 🤦🏻♀️
You see, the republicans have been told by leadership not to be fussing out in public. They are supposed to do their deals behind closed doors and then present a united front for all to see. That's why they all vote together all the time and we can’t figure out what’s happening.
Lectured in caucus meetings prior to any votes they take -they get told what to do and they fall in line because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t.
Bullies... junior high bullies is what we are dealing with here.
Well, that and a grown woman who needs to put her big girl panties on and answer the questions she's asked.
For goodness sakes! Isn't this what the left does? They get all offended and then cry about it until everyone around them changes their tune and they get their way. I can't stand whining. Whining and lying. Those are my biggest pet peeves.
The committee hearings are SUPPOSED to be filled with robust conversations and debate. But instead, they fall in line and obey. Because that's exactly what is expected of them and when they break rank, they get punished.
THAT, my friends, is one reason why we need the House Rules to be overhauled!
So what can you do?
- HB 781 NEEDS TO DIE. It's just not good. It contradicts the Republican platform. It robs the parties and the people of thier right to associate/affiliate and therefore, is in contradiction to our First Amendment rights. It's overreaching as far as the protections for election workers and there's another part I didn't even discuss that just ridiculous. It will come up for a vote soon, so we need to be contacting all the Election Committee members via phone & email until they commit to voting no. Fill up the inboxes & email boxes - make the phones ring and respectfully tell them what you want. They have no power other than their vote, so keep it focused and polite.
OPPOSE HB 781. Ask them to vote NO.
Peggy McGaugh, Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org 573-751-2917
Dan Stacy, Vice Chair - email@example.com. 573-751-8636
Joe Adams - joe.adams@ house.mo.gov. 573-751-4265
Brad Banderman - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.0549
Donna Baringer - email@example.com. 573-751-4220
Tricia Byrnes - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.1460
Jeff Coleman - email@example.com. 573.751.1487
Bill Falkner - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.9755
Roger Reedy - email@example.com. 573.751.3971
Alex Riley - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.2210
Adam Schwadron - email@example.com. 573.751.2949
David Tyson Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.9753
Justin Sparks - email@example.com. 573.751.0562
Cheri Toalson Reisch - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573-751-1169
Ken Waller - email@example.com. 573.751.4451
Kevin Windham - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.4726
Eric Woods - email@example.com. 573.751.2199
2. SHARE THIS POST FAR & WIDE. The more we educate citizens and grow participation, the faster we see results.
3. Contact your Central Committee Chair & Share the Info. You can find your committee chair by using this interactive map. Share the info and ask them to write and submit a resolution opposing this bill from your county central committee.
And PRAY! Actually please do that first.
We’ll see what happens next week.
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