A state lawmaker who represents St. Louis City wants Missouri’s governor to sign an executive order extending the 2020 COVID-19 precautions to the spring municipal elections.
State Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis, tells Missourinet that Governor Mike Parson’s (R) office has told her that Parson will not sign an executive order, citing alleged fraud in other states in 2020. She’s still hopeful it will happen.
Missourinet has reached out to the governor’s office, in an attempt to confirm what Baringer was told. We have not heard back yet.
Baringer notes the bipartisan 2020 law from State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, allowed those in COVID at-risk categories to vote absentee. Everyone else could vote by mail, with notarization.
“That worked really well, at least it did in my district,” Baringer says. “I had an 81 percent turnout in the November election.”
Baringer’s district includes the Bevo and Lindendwood Park neighborhoods in St. Louis City.
She says absentee voting for St. Louis’ municipal elections begins January 19, and notes the mayor’s race there is expected to draw a strong voter turnout.
Baringer says the pandemic will extend into the spring elections, and she doesn’t want to see polling places turn into a superspreader event.
“So my letter specifically asks the governor if he would do an executive order to extend the sunset on the legislation that passed overwhelmingly by the state Legislature,” says Baringer.
The Missouri House approved the Shaul bill 121-24 in May, and the governor signed it into law. It covered the August and November elections, and Baringer says the bill saved lives and preserved the integrity of the vote.
Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City on January 6. Absentee voting for the St. Louis spring elections will begin less than two weeks later.
“And that’s why it would be near impossible to get it through the state Legislature, when we have 52 new incoming freshmen (in the Missouri House) that won’t have any background or understanding of what we’re trying to do,” Baringer says.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced in November that she won’t seek re-election. St. Louis’ mayoral primary will take place on March 2. The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” has reported that, in a twist, St. Louis voters can vote for as many candidates as they wish in the March primary.
A mayoral runoff election will be held in April.
Baringer, who was first elected to the House in 2016, was re-elected to her third term in November. She defeated Republican Robert Crump, with about 73 percent of the vote.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with State Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis, which was recorded on December 21, 2020:
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