You would think many Mississippians could support an organization that’s stated goal is to encourage active participation in voting and understanding major public policy issues.
But as with many “non-partisan” groups in the Magnolia State, when you draw back the veil, there’s more than meets the eye.
The League of Women Voters of Mississippi, the state’s chapter of the larger nationally recognized non-profit organization, recently published their August 2012 newsletter entitled “The Mississippi Voter.” Reading through it, I was bowled over by the sheer volume of overtly partisan material.
LWVMS shares their take on Voter ID, health care and redistricting, among other issues.
One of the more striking statements deals with Mississippi’s legislative redistricting passed this past session. LWVMS states, “The Senate redistricting plan has not been gerrymandered to favor GOP nearly as much as the House plan.”
On Voter ID, the LWVMS proudly proclaims, “On May 25th, LWVMS sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that they aggressively scrutinize Mississippi’s Voter ID law for discriminatory practices” while also noting the NAACP challenge.
In addition, prominently displayed on both the front page of the newsletter and on the address label is this: “ALERT! As of this writing, no law has been passed to require voter id in Mississippi.”
That’s not quite accurate, now is it?
Voter ID passed on the 2011 election general ballot with 62% approval. It was subsequently passed into law by the Mississippi legislature this session and signed by Governor Phil Bryant in May. It is true, however, that the Department of Justice still has to sign off on the measure before it takes full effect, something Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office is diligently working toward.
LWVMS also has a registered lobbyist in Fran Leber. The newsletter states that the group lobbied against Voter ID implementation (HB 921), for funding for K-12 (HB 1593), for a Children’s Health Insurance Program bill (HB 316), and other items.
A quick review of its national counterpart’s website shows that the organization supports more arms control measures, a strong and effective United Nations, the abolition of the death penalty, and provisions for unauthorized immigrants in the country to earn legal status – and those are the most obviously declared policy positions; others are a little more masked.
The League of Women Voters in Mississippi dabbles in national politics by including this in their newsletter: “The League applauded the decision by the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act. It said, ‘Upholding the ACA brings out nation closer to the goals of this law, to provide universal health care for all Americans. There are still threats to these critical reforms and the League will continue fighting for progress on many fronts.”
LWV may not endorse candidates or a political party, but the group is definitely endorsing partisan policies and is leaning a good bit to the left these days.