Fair Maps – Redistricting in 2021

Click here for the new map for Missouri’s 163 House districts approved by the House Redistricting. Commission.

LWVMO Fair Redistricting Committee Chair Sharon Schneeberger testifies at the House Redistricting Commission’s hearing in Jefferson City on Nov. 4

LWVMO’s Fair Redistricting Committee was very active in encouraging redistricting commission members and legislators to use a transparent process. League members presented testimony at five hearings, attended most commission meetings, and submitted non-partisan maps developed by the Institute for Computational Redistricting (ICOR).

LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod said it was unfortunate that the Senate panel deadlocked, making it likely that the Missouri Supreme Court will appoint a judicial panel to take over that process. “The current system could and should be improved before the next U.S. Census,” she said. “Redistricting should be done on a nonpartisan basis with the goal of fair maps that keep communities of interest together.”

The Missouri House approved a “least change” map for congressional districts on Jan. 19, but didn’t have the votes for an emergency clause to have it take effect before the August primary. Some Republicans wanted a 7-1 gerrymander, but the 6-2 map prevailed. The League had reached out to legislators with research showing that 46.5 percent of Missouri voters supported Democrats in 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections for Governor, U.S. Senate, and President. HB2117 now goes to the Senate.

“Fair redistricting is a high priority for the League, since the new maps will shape our lives for the next 10 years,” McLeod said. “It’s all about fairness. The League wants to see more competitive districts that reflect Missouri’s political landscape and give voters a greater voice in their government at all levels. The final maps will determine what district we live in, who represents us, and how they will allocate resources for our communities for the next 10 years.”

The Institute for Computational Redistricting (ICOR), a research group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, prepared a report and sample maps for LWVMO. The report concludes that “compactness and good political fairness are achievable for Missouri” as the General Assembly drafts new maps for the state’s eight congressional districts. The League shared sample maps with legislators and members of the House and Senate Redistricting Commissions.

 Joan Hubbard represented LWVMO at the Senate Redistricting Commission hearing in St. Louis on Oct. 16. She recognized the “once-a-decade impact that redistricting has on the power of voters and on the vitality of democracy in our state.” She said, “In all 50 states, the League stresses that honorable redistricting requires fairness, accuracy, transparency and maximum public participation and input.” Hubbard encouraged commissioners to keep communities of interest together. She said, “Maps should be drawn in a transparent way that allows ample time for experts to analyze, and testify and time for our committee members to respond.”

— Watch Marilyn McLeod explain the redistricting process in Missouri to Paul Pepper at https://youtu.be/z0958wB6NNA.

— Click on the image at left for a recording of “People Power Makes Us Strong.” Singer/songwriter Shanna Jones performs the anthem with lyrics written by Bill Clause.

— Click here for information from the Brennan Center for Justice on the Efficiency Gap that is used to determine the extent of political gerrymandering.

— Click here for information on communities of interest.

Click here for information on People Powered Fair Maps, the LWVUS national redistricting program. LWVMO’s Fair Redistricting Committee is headed by Sharon Schneeberger of Columbia. Direct questions to league@lwvmissouri.org.

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