Citing ‘major problems,’ appeals court writes new ballot summary for deceptive measure
The Missouri AFL-CIO passed a resolution opposing Amendment 3 “Dirty Missouri” and urged a NO vote on the measure during its virtual convention late last month.
The resolution reads:
WHEREAS, ALL Missourians are entitled to have their voices heard by their elected officials; and
WHEREAS, legislative districts should be drawn to reflect communities, districts should not be drawn to protect establishment politicians; and
WHEREAS, for generations every Missourian has been counted when drawing district maps; and
WHEREAS, during the last election cycle voters overwhelmingly approved the nonpartisan legislative reform package, known as CLEAN Missouri, by a 62%-38% margin; and
WHEREAS, Amendment 3, known as Dirty Missouri, is a special interest funded attempt to repeal the voter approved CLEAN reforms; and
WHEREAS, Dirty Missouri prioritizes protecting incumbent politicians over respecting the will of the people; and
WHEREAS, Dirty Missouri takes the extreme action of not counting children and other non-voters when determining legislative districts; and
WHEREAS, Dirty Missouri is a cynical attempt to rig the rules in favor of establishment politicians; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Missouri AFL-CIO rejects the Dirty Missouri attempt to overturn the will of the people, and urges a NO vote on Amendment 3.
APPEALS COURT CITES ‘MAJOR PROBLEMS’
Now, an appeals court panel, ruling on the Republican-sponsored proposal that asks voters to reverse key parts of a redistricting overhaul they approved with the passage of Clean Missouri, has rewritten the ballot summary for the misleading measure to make it less deceptive to voters.
The ruling culminates a months-long legal fight over Amendment 3 focused mainly on Republican efforts to deceive voters into undoing their own vote, and enshrining partisan gerrymandering in the state constitution.
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 because it failed to acknowledge lawmakers’ full intentions.
The Appeals Court panel rewrote the ballot summary to 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.
The new ballot language is an improvement, but is still less than transparent.
While the ballot summary states it will “Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits,” Amendment 3 only changes gift limits by $5 (with exemptions for some lobbyists) and only lowers contributions to state senate candidates by $100. It’s more smokescreen than reform, and is intended to distract from the amendment’s main goal –– to enshrine partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts in the state constitution.
Vote NO on Amendment 3.