Leading civil rights groups filed an amicus brief this week in support of a citizens’ challenge to dishonest ballot language passed by the General Assembly for their Amendment 3 gerrymandering scheme. The brief comes ahead of a Friday hearing before the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals after a Cole County judge struck down and replaced the legislature’s deceptive ballot language.
Organizations signing the brief include:
- AALDEF – Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Brennan Center for Justice
- Campaign Legal Center
- Southern Coalition for Social Justice
- A. Philip Randolph Institute
- Missouri Jobs with Justice
- Missouri Voter Protection Coalition
- Organization for Black Struggle
The brief, which can be found here, warns that Amendment 3 would remove any reference to protections for minorities and weaken current constitutional protections for voters of color. From the brief:
“[T]he reforms approved by voters in 2018 accord communities of color protections stronger than those currently offered to voters under the federal Voting Rights Act. Amendment 3 would do away with these much-needed, additional protections.”
The brief also explains how Amendment 3 would undermine voter-approved rules that made Missouri a national leader in strong anti-gerrymandering policy:
“[T]he summary statement [proposed by the politicians pushing Amendment 3] misleads voters into believing that Amendment 3 would provide people of color with additional voting-rights protections, when in reality, it would strip away the very protections added only two years ago.”
Finally, the brief reminds us why strong protections for voters of color are so important:
“The heightened protections that voters are being asked to repeal are critical for fair treatment of communities of color in Missouri, a state whose history includes ‘generations of segregation and inequity,’ and where the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014 led to ‘Ferguson’ becoming ‘synonymous with racial strife and inequality in the United States.’ Voters should not be asked to make this decision without an understanding of what is at stake.”
The extreme, discriminatory and anti-democratic details in the fine print of politicians’ Amendment 3 proposal continue to drive bipartisan opposition to the gerrymandering plan. More than 300 organizations, community leaders and faith leaders are calling on Missourians to vote NO on Amendment 3 this November.
Read the full brief from civil rights leaders below.