Originally published in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Repealing Missouri’s new redistricting system should not be on the 2020 legislative agenda, much less a priority (“Clock is ticking for Republicans eyeing repeal of Missouri’s new redistricting system,” Dec. 2).
In 2018 voters across the state approved Amendment 1, known as Clean Missouri, that featured an improved way of drawing district maps. Rep. Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, says he and other opponents of Clean Missouri wouldn’t “be overturning the will of the voters” if they put redistricting back on the ballot. In fact, the Missouri Legislature has a worrisome record of overturning Missouri voters on multiple issues, including puppy mills and casino tax revenue for education.
After the 2010 Census, it took two years to win court approval for new maps for Missouri’s House and Senate districts that were drawn behind closed doors to protect incumbents and their parties. About 90% of races under the current maps have not been competitive.
Amendment 1 is designed to ensure that neither party gets an unfair advantage when maps are drawn and makes racial fairness central to the process. Legislative leaders from both parties will have a role in selecting an independent demographer to draw maps that will then be reviewed by a citizen commission that must hold public hearings. That’s what 62% of voters supported.
The purpose of redistricting after each census is to guarantee fair and equal access to the political process for all citizens. We believe in good government and equal voting rights for all. Legislators should have more respect for Missouri voters.
Evelyn Maddox • Kansas City
President, League of Women Voters of Missouri