COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri voters on Nov. 3 will be asked to decide again on an issue they cast ballots on just two years ago.
Amendment 3 would undo some of the changes approved by about 62% of voters in the 2018 ballot issue known as Clean Missouri. Specifically, Amendment 3 would undo major alterations to the way Missouri redraws its congressional and state legislative districts.
Voters in 2018 approved, among other items in Clean Missouri, putting the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts in the hands of a non-partisan state demographer. Supporters said the change would stop gerrymandering, under which political parties draw districts in a way that will help their members be reelected.
Some Republican lawmakers opposed the change, leading to the Missouri General Assembly voting to put Amendment 3 on the ballot.
Amendment 3 would put the redrawing of districts back into the hands of a committee made up of governor-appointed members of the two major political parties. It would also change the standards by which districts are drawn, favoring equal population among districts and requiring they be drawn "on the basis of one person, one vote."
Clean Missouri allows public officials to accept lobbyist gifts but only if they're $5 or less in value. Amendment 3 would eliminate them altogether. The ballot measure would also reduce the value of campaign contributions a state Senate candidate can receive from an individual donor per election cycle by $100.
Who's supporting Amendment 3
The primary public supporters of Amendment 3 are the members of the Republican-dominated Missouri General Assembly who crafted the measure and voted to put it on the ballot.
Backers of Amendment 3 tout the further lobbying and campaign finance reforms it would put in place. They also argue that the factors the nonpartisan state demographer must consider under state law would lead to oddly shaped districts that disenfranchise some voters.
An analysis by The Associated Press in 2018 showed the redistricting process under the state demographer would lead to Democratic gains in the House and Senate in 2022.
No effort has been organized to support passage of Amendment 3.
Who's opposing Amendment 3
The opponents of Amendment 3 are in many cases the supporters of Clean Missouri in 2018. They argue voters have already decided this question and say the measure is using lobbyist and campaign reforms as an enticement for voters to change the redistricting process.
Detractors say the legislature's push to roll back the state demographer change is a sign of a party in power -- in this case Republicans -- whose members are worried about losing seats.
Critics also contend the "one person, one vote" language would exclude everyone but adult citizens from being counted for the purpose of drawing districts. Supporters counter that the language is meant to bring state law in line with federal law.
The Clean Missouri political action committee, which worked for passage of the 2018 amendment, is the main force opposing Amendment 3. The committee has taken in more than $1.3 million during the election cycle, a mix of small donations from individuals and large checks cut by other political action committees.
The ballot language
Official ballot title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
- Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees;
- Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits;
- Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018 by: (i) transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the Nonpartisan State Demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; (ii) modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.
State governmental entities expect no cost or savings. Individual local governmental entities expect significant decreased revenues of a total unknown amount.
Fair ballot language:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to reduce the limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state senator can accept from individuals or entities by $100 per election. There is no change for candidates for state representative.
The amendment prohibits state legislators and their employees from accepting a gift of any value (which is currently $5) from paid lobbyists or the lobbyists’ clients.
The amendment modifies the criteria for redrawing legislative districts and changes the process for redrawing state legislative district boundaries during redistricting by giving redistricting responsibility to a bipartisan commission, renames them, and increases membership to 20 by adding four commissioners appointed by the Governor from nominations by the two major political party's state committees.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding campaign contributions, lobbyist gifts, and the process and criteria for redistricting.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.