JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The 2022 Judicial Redistricting Commission released its tentative redistricting plan and map of Missouri Senate districts on Monday.
Under the plan, Cooper County would move into District 21, leaving Boone as the only county in District 19. Republican Caleb Rowden currently represents the 19th District, but Columbia College political science professor Terry Smith said the new district lines may favor a democratic senator in Boone County.
"That might mean a switch in partisan affiliation for the seat come the election," Smith said.
Smith said the new map shows the population shifting to more stratified districts than 10 years ago.
"People who are inclined to be democratic tend to settle in democratic areas and people who are inclined to be Republican tend to settle in Republican areas," Smith said. "There's not as much cross-fertilization as there used to be and so Boone County will probably become more democratic."
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said the single-county district allows Boone County to elect a state senator that will only have to focus on its needs.
"I think that people Boone County would hope that that will mean that they have a state senator that's really focused on them," Ashcroft said. "This may help them the next time they elect a state senator for him or her to just really be able to just focus on exactly what Boone county needs as opposed to another county that might have different needs or desires."
Several other Mid-Missouri districts would see shifts if the tentative map is put into place. Maries County would become part of the 16th District, Camden would move to the 6th, and both Audrain and Monroe counties would become part of the 18th.
The commission says it plans to file the documents with the Missouri secretary of state on Tuesday.
"The Judicial Redistricting Commission’s work has been thorough and labor intensive, and was purposefully undertaken with the goal to file a constitutionally compliant plan and map well in advance of the commission’s constitutional deadline to avoid disenfranchising voters given the candidate filing deadline and the deadline for preparing ballots,” commission Chair Cynthia L. Martin said in a news release.
Martin said the commission used the following, constitutionally-required criteria when redrawing the districts:
- Dividing population as equally as practicable;
- Avoiding the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color;
- Creating districts that are as contiguous and compact as practicable;
- Respecting political subdivision lines to the extent possible; and
- Achieving calculable standards for partisan fairness and competitiveness.
View the previous map of Missouri's Senate districts below.
The districts, along with Missouri's congressional and state House districts, are redrawn every 10 years after the census.
When asked about the continued debate in the Missouri Senate on the U.S. congressional redistricting, Ashcroft said lawmakers will likely get it done before the end of the session and he has faith they'll do what they believe is best for Missourians.
"I would say that gerrymandering is all in the eye of the beholder. What one person would call gerrymandering the other person would say 'No, that's a good map,'" Ashcroft said. "You know, the United States Supreme Court has said several times that redistricting is an inherently political process"