View from the Capitol
by State Rep. Ed Schieffer
It was my privilege to meet with Lincoln County veterans at Troy’s Senior Center. Many Korean War Veterans have expressed the feeling that they felt like they were “forgotten.” After talking to John I. Wilson and Irvin Bueneman, we decided it would be proper to have a Korean Memorial on the lawn of the Lincoln County Courthouse. Troy’s V.F.W. Post and I shared the cost of a memorial bench made of granite. Buchheit’s Store in Troy made the beautiful bench. Earlier, they made one for Old Monroe Veterans, which was paid by the Old Monroe American Legion and me. We should never forget those who served our country in the Armed Services. May God bless each of you who served and protect those who are still in the military.
One way we can honor those who protect freedom is to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Please vote. From “The Commander in Chief” to those in the courthouse, each office is important to our democracy. Thank you to everyone who offered to serve the public.
In September, Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent, its lowest point since December 2008 and nearly a full point below last month’s national average unemployment rate of 7.8 percent. The state added 2,500 jobs during the month to shave three-tenths of a percent off the state’s unemployment rate, which stood at 7.2 percent in August.
I would like to extend my congratulations to the Silex softball team for winning the state championship in Class 1. On their way to winning the championship, they defeated Harrisburg 6-1, St. Elizabeth 2-0, Knox County 9-2 and Naylor 7-6. Members of the softball team are: Kimmy Duggan, Rachel Lipsey, Michele Norton, Hannah Pratt, Maria Gissenaas, Natalie Fleming, Rachelle Horne, Brittany Howard, Leah Miller, Ashley Gentry, Jesse Hawkins, Nikki Hawkins, Anna Hawkins, Madison Henke, Lindsey Barnhart, Ashley Brown, Melanie Miller, Aly Miller and Haleigh Gatzmeyer. Also, congratulations go out to Head Coach Robert James, Assistant Coach Shawn Wilding, and managers Shayla Steiner and Marcie Norton. I would further like to congratulate the softball teams from Troy Buchanan, Elsberry and Winfield for winning district titles.
As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Please call me at 573-751-9459, toll free at 855-285-3781, locally at 636-299-3270 or 636-462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our fax number is 573-522-0411. You may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Whatever your political persuasion, I think most Americans would agree that it’s important to have a voice in your government and that is why voting is such an important part of being an American. Our form of democratic government has served as a model for the world for more than two centuries. So many American lives have been lost protecting our freedoms, including the right to vote without fear or malice. Across the globe, people have died seeking the right to vote despite the threat of violence or even death.
The American experience at the ballot box has developed over the centuries. It has become more inclusive and more accessible and continues to be the envy of the world. As we prepare to vote at the local, state and national levels, it is important to remember how we got to this point in the electoral process.
When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, only white male property owners age 21 and older were guaranteed the right to vote and by 1843, a series of acts expanded voting requirements so that all white men 21 and older could cast a ballot. In the aftermath of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed the right to vote to all men 21 or older regardless of race or ethnic background. Through the tireless efforts of the Suffrage Movement, the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution gave women age 21 and older the right to vote in the early 20th Century.
But there was certainly more to do when it came to American voting rights and some major changes occurred in the 1960s’, when our country made monumental reforms to our election system that ensured fairness for all. The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified in 1964 made it illegal for states to charge poll tax to voters, and one year later the Voting Rights Act authorized the federal government to take over registration of voters in areas where state officials had regularly prevented African Americans and other minorities from registering to vote or cast their ballots through usage of literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and intimidation tactics.
In 1971, the year I turned 19-years-old, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the voting age across the nation to 18 and in 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act extended voting guarantees provided by the Voting Rights Act to include specific voting provisions for those Americans with disabilities, voters who were not able to read and write and citizens not fluent in English.
Seeking to make the election process even more inclusive a decade later, the National Voter Registration Act increased the number of active government agencies that could serve as voter registries. For example, the departments of Safety, Health, Human Services, Mental Health and Retardation, and Veteran’s Affairs are required to include voter registration applications with their own department’s forms. Other government offices such as libraries, post offices, county clerk offices, and the Registrar of Deeds will also have voter forms available to the public.
At the end of the day, our nation has an election system that encourages participation in the election process for all Americans. Regardless of your political affiliation, please stay engaged in the political process to ensure that your voice is heard on Election Day, Nov. 6.