Missouri Amendment 3 is a confusing, misleading mess. Here’s how to vote

The Kansas City Star

Missourians should vote no on Amendment 3.

That sounds simple, and it is. But because Republicans in thestate legislature are terrified for their jobs, and because misleading the public is their primary strategy for getting this ballot measure passed, many voters may be confused by the ballot question or skip it altogether.

That would be a mistake. 

If you want a government that’s honest and listens to you — if you want a clean Missouri — you must vote no on Amendment 3. Here’s why.

Two years ago, roughly 300,000 petitioners told the state’s leaders they wanted to reduce lobbyists’ influence in Jefferson City, cap political donations and make the process for drawing state legislative districts more even-handed. Their signatures put the so-called Clean Missouri initiative on the ballot.

By a 25-point margin, voters endorsed Clean Missouri. That should have been the end of it. 

But Republicans in the legislature thought otherwise. They wanted another vote on the Clean Missouri framework, claiming voters didn’t understand what they actually passed in 2018.

Did those Republicans seek petition signatures for a vote, as Clean Missouri supporters had two years earlier? Of course not. They knew Missourians wouldn’t sign. Instead, GOP leadership crafted a ballot measure in the darkness, rammed it through thelegislature and put it up for a November vote.

Those tactics are bad enough. But voters must understand this truth: Amendment 3 doesn’t simply repeal the reforms of two years ago. Instead, it replaces the changes with a redistricting scheme so insidious it would wreck the state’s General Assembly for a generation.

Clean Missouri established a framework for creating legislative districts that more fairly represented the people. It called for a demographer who would draw districts based on bipartisan fairness and political competitiveness. 

Amendment 3 trashes that framework, creating an incumbent-protection process for drawing new lines.

There’s more. If Amendment 3 passes, only “eligible voters” would be counted when forming legislative districts, not total population. That omits children. It’s hard to imagine a more anti-family approach than that.

Members of The Kansas City Star editorial board interview political candidates, as well as advocates and opponents of ballot measures. The editorial board is comprised of experienced opinion journalists and is separate from The Star’s newsroom. Members of The Star editorial board are: Colleen McCain Nelson, Derek Donovan, Dave Helling, Melinda Henneberger, Toriano Porter and Michael Ryan. Read more by clicking the arrow in the upper right.

“If Amendment 3 is fully implemented, one out of every four Missourians would not count when new districts are drawn,” opponents of the proposal have argued. That “would have profound implications for how our families and our communities are represented in the State Capitol.” 

There are other parts of Amendment 3 designed to lure voters into supporting a measure they don’t want or need. The ballot measure lowers the cap on campaign contributions to state senators by $100. It reduces the threshold on lobbyist gifts from $5 to $0.

Both proposals are cynical attempts to pass off Amendment 3 as political reform. It is not. It’s a measure aimed at making sure insiders can choose their politicians, cutting voters out of theprocess.

Fortunately, Missourians are far smarter than legislative leaders give them credit for. Voters passed Clean Missouri in 2018 to make the state better. They knew what they were doing.

And they know what to do now. Vote no on Amendment 3. It’s that simple.