Missouri leaders and national experts praise Amendment 1’s strong protections for the voting power of communities of color
By Sean in Accountability, Integrity, Media Releases, News, Transparency Posted October 18, 2018
Redistricting experts say that language in Amendment 1 will make Missouri a national leader in protecting the voting power of communities of color
Language to protect and expand the political power of racial and language minorities reads as follows, and is explicitly listed as more important than other criteria that will be used to evaluate future redistricting plans for the General Assembly:
Districts shall be established in a manner so as to comply with all requirements of the United States Constitution and applicable federal laws, including, but not limited to, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (as amended). Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article, districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or diminishing their ability to elect representatives of their choice, whether by themselves or by voting in concert with other persons.
Michael Li, Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice explains what this means:
“At a time when the scope of future federal protections becomes more uncertain, Amendment 1 would make Missouri a national leader in protecting the voting power of communities of color. The proposal is absolutely clear—districts must be drawn to allow minority voters to elect their preferred candidates. And, if their political power is at all diminished, voters of color could bring a challenge. Passing Amendment 1 would be a major voting rights victory.”
Justin Levitt, Professor at Loyola Law School, a national redistricting expert:
“It’s evident from the drafting that the initiative’s authors spent a great deal of time and attention on the particular phrasing, especially on the provision concerning minority rights. It’s carefully calibrated, and designed to account both for Supreme Court precedent and for practicalities on the ground. It’s true that the courts have addressed race and redistricting a fair amount recently, but no Supreme Court case – out of Texas or otherwise – keeps Missouri from doing what the initiative proposes.”
Greg Moore, former Executive Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, and a statewide leader in the Ohio Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition:
“The state of Missouri, like Ohio earlier this year, has a rare opportunity to take a giant leap forward to advance fair districts, roll back corruption in state government and protect minority voting rights by supporting the Clean Missouri Initiative on the November 6 ballot. This year we are witnessing an unprecedented wave of citizens across the country working together to build stronger, more representative and more responsive state and local governments. African Americans and all voters of Color will be key to the success of this historic effort in Missouri. Support Amendment 1. Please don’t miss this opportunity to let our voices be heard!”
Nimrod “Rod” Chapel, Jr., President of the NAACP Missouri State Conference and civil rights attorney:
“Opponents of Amendment 1 are spewing lies to protect the broken status quo, because they know they can’t win on the merits. We’re excited to keep sharing the facts on what Amendment 1 will do with voters, and why it’s so important to pass this desperately-needed measure to move Missouri forward.”
Former St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley:
“When big money and big lobbyists speak the loudest in Jefferson City, the voices of the people back home get drowned out. Amendment 1 will change that, and be a great first step to getting our state pointed back in a good direction.
“Amendment 1 will also make Missouri a national leader in protecting the voting power of communities of color. The plain language of the measure requires that districts be drawn to allow minority voters to elect their preferred candidates, and makes sure that protections for people of color outrank other criteria. That’s huge, and is a big reason why I’m so excited to be voting yes on November 6.”
Rev. Dr. Rodney E. Williams, pastor of the Swope Parkway United Christian Church, president of the Kansas City Chapter of the NAACP, and Board Chair for Missouri Faith Voices:
“We need Amendment 1, the Clean Missouri initiative, to clean up Missouri politics, take power away from big money and make our voices matter more in Jefferson City. The amendment would eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts, decrease the influence of big money in the General Assembly and require transparent records and meetings. It would require fair state legislative maps so politicians are no longer protected by safe, gerrymandered districts. It would also protect minority voting rights.”
St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones:
“Amendment 1 enshrines the Voting Rights Act into the Missouri Constitution to protect our right to vote in majority-minority districts. Amendment 1 puts working families first, instead of lobbyists and big money.”
Amendment 1 will ensure neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by requiring a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission.
Amendment 1 will also:
- Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly, by banning any gift worth more than $5.
- Require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists, after the conclusion of their final legislative session.
- Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates to limit the influence of big money and lobbyists in state government.
- Establish new campaign contribution limits for General Assembly candidates — $2,500 for state senate, and $2,000 for state house.
- Limit the ability of individuals and organizations to circumvent caps by counting money from single-source committees towards totals for original, actual donors.
- Stop legislative fundraising on state property.
- Require legislative meetings and records be open to the public by ensuring that the legislature operate under the same open records law as other public entities in Missouri.
Amendment 1 endorsements include:
- Organization for Black Struggle
- Missouri Jobs With Justice
- A. Philip Randolph Institute – St. Louis Chapter
- Campaign Legal Center
- Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
- Common Cause
- Communities Creating Opportunity
- Metropolitan Congregations United
- Missouri AFL-CIO
- Missouri Faith Voices
- Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
- NAACP Missouri State Conference
- Service Employees International Union
- The League of Women Voters
Amendment 1 has also been endorsed by Rev. Starsky Wilson, Rev. Dr. Rodney E. Williams, Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Pastor Michael Brooks, Rev. Tex Sample, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, the St. Louis American, Washington Missourian, Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Columbia Daily Tribune.READ MORE