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2012 elections preview: Missouri Amendment 2 to be decided by voters tomorrow

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August 6, 2012

Missouri

By Eric Veram

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: The primary election in Missouri is tomorrow, August 7, and voters will be deciding on one ballot measure, Amendment 2.

If passed, the measure would alter the state constitution by expanding the general constitutional right to religious freedom. The measure specifies that citizens have the right to express their religious beliefs through worship "in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools." The measure mandates that public schools display the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Measure challenged in court

On July 7, 2011 the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Eastern Missouri and the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri filed a lawsuit, known as Madeline Coburn et al v. Robert N. Mayer et al., challenging the wording of the ballot summary. According to reports, the legal challenge calls for the summary to be rewritten or for the measure to be removed from the 2012 statewide ballot.[1]

Specifically the lawsuit challenges that the summary is misleading because it does not mention that students could use the proposed amendment to avoid homework assignments or that the measure would "remove any state constitutional protection of religious expression or liberty for prisoners in state or local custody."[2]

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a minister in the United Methodist Church who is a spiritual adviser to inmates in the Missouri Department of Corrections and an associate professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.[2]

On March 29, Missouri Judge Pat Joyce upheld the prayer amendment's summary, allowing the measure to remain on the ballot.[3]

What will appear on the ballot

According to the Missouri Secretary of State's website, the official ballot language reads:[4]

A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that neither the state nor political subdivisions shall establish any official religion. The amendment further provides that a citizen's right to express their religious beliefs regardless of their religion shall not be infringed and that the right to worship includes prayer in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools. The amendment also requires public schools to display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
A "no" vote will not change the current constitutional provisions protecting freedom of religion.

Local ballot measures

See also: Local ballot measure elections in 2012

In at least four states, local elections will feature local ballot measures. Those states include: Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

On election night, August 7, Ballotpedia will be tracking 4 measures and providing live election results. Election results for all local measures will be available in the days following the election. All local ballot measure results can be found here.

Randomly selected measures that will be live tracked on August 7 election day include:

See also

Ballotpedia News

References