After careful study, LWVMO endorsed Clean Missouri’s ballot initiative in 2017. Using grants from the LWVUS Education Fund and the Election Reformers Network, LWVMO is advocating for Amendment 1 and its changes to how legislative district maps would be drawn after each census.
“Amendment 1 is our chance to increase fairness, integrity and transparency in government,” says LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell (pictured at left below at an August news conference). “Year after year, politicians are re-elected with big money, in districts drawn by politicians and party insiders. Amendment 1 limits the influence of special interest groups and ensures no party is given an unfair advantage when redistricting occurs after the next census. Amendment 1 establishes clear, transparent criteria for a nonpartisan demographer to draw fair and competitive maps to be reviewed by a citizens’ commission that will hold public hearings.”
Amendment 1 includes strong language making racial fairness central to the drawing of legislative districts. It sets clear criteria for drawing new maps:
– Make districts as equal in population as practicable;
– Comply with requirements of U.S. Constitution and applicable federal laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
– Promote partisan fairness, which would be defined as parties being able to translate their popular support into legislative representation with about equal efficiency;
– Promote competitiveness, which would be defined as parties’ representation in the state legislature being similarly responsive to changes in the electorate’s preferences;
– Create districts composed of contiguous territory;
– Create districts which coincide with the boundaries of political subdivisions of the state; and
– Create districts compact in form.
“The League’s position is that political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select voters, rather than allowing voters to elect their officials,” Marilyn McLeod said. “Amendment 1 is our chance to clean up state politics.”
Besides improves the system for drawing fair maps, Amendment 1 bans most lobbyist gifts to legislators, lowers contribution limits for state house and senate races, requires state government to be more transparent, and makes other needed reforms. For more information and the complete text of the Constitutional amendment, go to www.cleanmissouri.org.