To The Editor:
Cleverly embedded in Amendment 1, a five-page proposed amendment to our Missouri Constitution, a proposal that is being advertised as a way to bring transparency to our state government, campaign contribution limits and restrictions regarding lobbying, is the plan to drastically alter the way our state representative and state Senate districts are drawn.
Presently, every 10 years after the census, a panel of five Republicans and five Democrats draw the district lines according to the new figures on Missouri’s population. If the panel cannot reach an agreement, the court will settle it. Amendment 1 will take that responsibility from a bipartisan panel and give it to the state auditor who will appoint a state demographer to draw the new districts. That one person is instructed to draw the new districts to make them equitable so the elections are more “fair.”
That is gerrymandering on steroids.
One can imagine the long narrow districts reaching from St. Louis County through St. Charles County to Warren County to make a 50 percent Democrat/50 percent Republican district. This will be the end of representative districts. The constituents could be a mix of metropolitan residents and rural farmers. How will that work?
Presently, the Missouri General Assembly has a mixture of members from urban districts and rural districts. It is working well. Why fix it?
I suggest that the Democrats see this as their only chance to be able to take the majority in both chambers at the State Capitol anytime soon. The amendment was written with new limits on campaign contributions and restrictions on lobbyists which are popular with the people to attract 50 percent plus one of the voters to amend our Missouri Constitution and put the General Assembly in the hands of liberals.
Beware. Don’t let this happen. Vote No on Amendment 1.