Editorial: Call urges a ‘no’ vote on Missouri’s Amendment 3

The Call Newspapers

Voters will consider a Missouri Constitutional amendment Tuesday, Nov. 3 that reverts the redistrict-ing change voters overwhelmingly passed in 2018 with Clean Missouri.

Since the day after that vote, Missouri’s Republican state legislators have been chomping at the bit to revert Clean Missouri, which took the power to redraw legislative maps every 10 years away from a bipartisan commission of political appointees and handed that power to a nonpartisan state demographer.

In the Missouri version of “Groundhog Day,” voters get to decide again whether they supported what they voted for in 2018.

Amendment 3, called either “Cleaner Missouri” or “Dirty Missouri” depending on whether you’re for or against it, is a long, complicated amendment that this newspaper printed in full text Oct. 15.

We encourage a “no” vote on Amendment 3. The Clean Missouri group that opposes it has a broader coalition this time around than it did in 2018, and from what we can tell the only people in favor of Amendment 3 are Republican lawmakers who want to keep their seats and their power.

If passed, we believe gerrymandering would increase. The League of Women Voters, which typically doesn’t take stances on issues, is opposing it because members believe it could give Missouri the country’s worst gerrymandering.

Passing Amendment 3 doesn’t simply return Missouri to the process it’s always used, but it adds a “one person, one vote” clause that can be interpreted as only counting eligible voters when drawing legislative maps, excluding children, immigrants and felons. Cities and counties across the state, including St. Louis County, believe this will lower federal dollars awarded to Missouri. Is that the intent, or is this just a badly written bill? If Amendment 3 passes we’re sure millions of taxpayer dollars will be spent on legal fees to find out what it means and if it’s legal — money Missouri doesn’t have to spare.

More than 62 percent of voters said they wanted more transparency when they voted for Clean Missouri, and unlike GOP lawmakers, we think voters knew what they were doing.

Keeping Clean Missouri redistricting by voting against Amendment 3 reaffirms that transparency, since the data used to build the maps will be publicly released so that anyone can see whether the maps are fair.

The Call urges a “no” vote on Amendment 3.