The Missouri Supreme court won’t determine the fate of a ballot measure proposing to change the way voting districts are drawn up.
The high bench declined to hear the case Monday of Clean Missouri, or Amendment 1 as it will appear on the ballot. Opponents were successful in removing the proposal in a lower court in Jefferson City, but that decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel P. Green was reversed by a state appeals court in Kansas City.
According to the secretary of state’s office, any legal action affecting ballot measures must be finalized by Tuesday because of time constraints to print voting tickets.
If passed, the measure would require a state demographer to draw state legislative maps, would require Missouri legislative records to be open and it would lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates. It would further require Missouri lawmakers to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
Opponents, including many Republicans and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, mainly objected to its provision calling for a state demographer to determine voting districts. The arrangement would give bipartisan senate and house commissions less influence over the final decision.
Columbia GOP State Senator Caleb Rowden told Missourinet affiliate KSSZ that Clean Missouri is being pushed by out of state liberals. “They’re trying to find a way, basically, that they can keep moving their party to the left and still be relevant in these areas,” said Rowden. “And they can’t do it unless they change the way that these districts are drawn.”
Opponents had argued the proposal failed to meet a requirement for the scope of ballot measures to be limited to one subject.
An attorney for Clean Missouri claimed it did not violate the single subject clause because every component mentions and involves the Legislature.
Supporters of the ballot measure include many Democrats and some Republicans say it promotes transparency in government. They say its redistricting model is designed to have the number of seats won by each party more closely reflect its statewide vote.
Clean Missouri received a $250,000 donation from a group operated by wealthy progressive activist George Soros.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Mehan said his organization would continue its campaign against the ballot measure. “Despite the wave of dark money being spent in support of Amendment 1, we will work to unmask this effort and educate voters about its true intent,” said Mehan. Amendment 1 isn’t designed to clean Missouri — it will fleece us.”
The Supreme Court decision means the Clean Missouri proposal will appear on the ballot in the November 6th midterm election. Four states have redistricting proposals going before voters this year.