In November voters in Missouri by a strong majority approved a measure called Clean Missouri, an ethics reform constitutional amendment, which included a new nonpartisan method of the redrawing of legislative districts. Republicans immediately tried to defeat the proposal because of fear of losing control of redistricting, which has given the GOP control of both chambers in the General Assembly.
One of the goals of Republicans in this current session has been to weaken Clean Missouri provisions, especially how legislative district boundaries are drawn. The Clean Missouri initiative requires a mathematical formula to bring partisan fairness and competitiveness in drawing legislative districts. It requires a nonpartisan demographer to base state House and Senate districts on the votes cast in the previous three elections for president, governor and U.S. senator. Those statewide races are not affected by gerrymandering.
The state auditor is in charge of preparing the application process for the appointment of a demographer. That is underway now by the Democratic auditor.
Republicans are critical of the voter-approved Clean Missouri amendment and have a bill that would do away with the voter-approved demographer and instead would put the power of redistricting in the hands of a panel of Missouri residents picked by legislative leaders. That would be about as partisan as it could get!
Voters wanted to eliminate the partisan way of redrawing districts every 10 years based on the census. The Republicans have benefited from the old plan, and so have the Democrats in past years. Franklin County has four Republican state House members and one Republican state senator. To cut up the county into four House districts is ridiculous and as partisan as it gets.
Some House members argue their plan would take politics out of redistricting. It is impossible to eliminate politics completely, but the Clean Missouri law with a professional nonpartisan demographer appears to have the best chance to put fairness and nonpartisanship in the issue of redistricting.
The old system has worked well for party influence and the party in power doesn’t want that changed.
To go against the vote of the people is an affront to Missourians.