Despite court orders, deceptive Amendment 3 ballot language left on ballots in three counties

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Missouri AFL-CIO urges ‘No’ vote on ‘Dirty Missouri’

Despite two court rulings holding that politicians broke the law with the dishonest way they attempted to summarize the fine print of their Amendment 3 gerrymandering plan, the false and misleading ballot language the courts had ordered replaced was distributed to voters in Buchanan, Madison and Vernon counties on Tuesday, Sept. 22, the first day for in-person absentee voting in Missouri.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce threw out the original ballot language crafted by Republican lawmakers, calling it “misleading,” “objectively untrue,” “literally false” and a “deception.”

Republican backers appealed the ruling to the Western District Court of Appeals, which found “major problems” in the ballot summary by Republican lawmakers asking voters to reverse key parts of a redistricting overhaul they approved with the passage of Clean Missouri because it failed to acknowledge lawmakers’ full intentions.

The appeals court panel rewrote the ballot summary to make it clearer, but it was the old language that was presented on ballots given to voters in Buchanan, Madison and Vernon counties.

The No on 3 campaign discovered the errors after voters reported seeing the incorrect language on their ballots. The campaign is working collaboratively with local election officials to inform voters about how the politicians attempted to trick them, and to resolve the isolated errors.

The Missouri AFL-CIO has come out against Amendment 3, also known as “Dirty Missouri,” and is urging a NO vote on the deceptive measure.

‘VOTERS NEED TO KNOW’
“Voters need to know how politicians are trying to trick them into passing Amendment 3,” said Sean Soendker Nicholson, campaign director for the No on 3 campaign. “The amendment only changes lobbyist gift limits by $5, and only changes contribution limits by $100. That’s not reform — that’s a smokescreen to distract voters from the real goal of the plan, which is letting lobbyists and political operatives draw district maps to protect their favorite politicians.”

NEEDS TO BE FIXED IMMEDIATELY
“The original sin here was committed by the politicians who designed Amendment 3 to trick voters, so we need to make sure voters have accurate information about what is in the fine print of Amendment 3 straight away,” said No on 3 campaign attorney Chuck Hatfield. “The ballots need to be fixed immediately, and the voters who were given ballots with inaccurate information need to be notified about the false information they were given.”

The correct ballot language should have read as follows:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees;
Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits;
Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018 by: (i) transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the Nonpartisan State Demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; (ii) modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.

‘DESIGNED TO TRICK VOTERS’
While the ballot summary states it will “Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits,” Amendment 3 would only change gift limits by $5 (with exemptions for some lobbyists) and only lower contributions to state Senate candidates by $100. The ultimate goal, of course, is to enshrine partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts in the Missouri constitution.

“We all know Amendment 3 was designed to trick voters,” said Dr. Jane Frick, a St. Joseph voter. “But two courts have ruled that the politicians behind this scheme broke the law with their lies. Voters need to look into the fine print, and send a message to the politicians trying to trick us by voting NO on Amendment 3.”


 

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