WHAT HAPPENED FIRST: In 2018, MCU leaders and others spent months collecting thousands of signatures to get Amendment 1 on the November ballot. It was called “Clean Missouri” for what is was intended to do: clean out the big money out of Missouri politics and clean up the gerrymandering of voting districts. In effect, outlawing gerrymandering. (Gerrymandering creates voting districts that heavily favor a single political party.) And we did it! Amendment 1/Clean Missouri passed with 62% of voters saying loud and clear NO to gerrymandering.
WHAT HAPPENED SECOND: After the passage of Amendment 1/Clean Missouri, the major party in the Missouri legislature got to work to overturn it. That’s right. The will of the voters became a problem for the party in charge. Declaring that the voters were in fact unaware, ignorant or just plain not paying attention, majority legislators passed a bill putting Amendment 3 on the November 2020 ballot. All of us who worked so hard in 2018 immediately dubbed it “Dirty Missouri”
WHAT IT SAYS: Amendment 3/Dirty Missouri leads off well enough reducing lobby gifts from $5 to $0 and reducing state Senate campaign contributions by $100. Then it gets dirty. Here’s the dirtiest parts:
- Who draws the lines of new districts? Voters approved of a nonpartisan demographer taking the new census information and creating districts as balanced as possible. Amendment 3 requires the process stay basically the same. The governor will appoint a bi-partisan committee. This has not been working and voters know it. This is how gerrymandering is born and this is what majority legislators want to hold on to.
- Who is included in a district’s composition? Voters approved that districts would included everyone living in a district. They would be properly counted and represented. Amendment 3 will only count and therefore, represent ONLY registered voters. That means when doing the headcount of a district children and youth, ages 0-18 WILL NOT be in the count. Non-voting adults WILL NOT be in the count. This means folks in memory care centers who longer vote. Developmentally delayed folks who don’t vote won’t count. Immigrants who are non-voters….but working tax-payers…won’t count. It’s an easy assumption that if a person doesn’t count, they will not be represented. THIS WOULD BE THE MOST EXTREME FORM OF GERRYMANDERING IN THE COUNTRY!
- What if you think a district is unfairly created? Even now a citizen can challenge the composition of a district, and a judge most certainly can. Currently and under Amendment 1, a district deemed unfairly created can be challenged. Not so under Amendment 3. Citizens will be unable under ANY circumstances to challenge the composition of a district, and judges will be severely restricted in their ability to challenge even the most obviously unfair districts.
How Politicians Are Tricking Voters
These are reason enough to NO on Amendment 3. Our children count. Our neighbors working to become citizens count. The mentally ill, homeless veteran counts!