NEWTON COUNTY/JOPLIN, Mo. – The clock is ticking on the election this year with only 21 days until voters hit the polls. There are a number of people and issues on the ballot. One of the issues in Missouri is Amendment 3.
Proponents of the amendment see it as a way to keep representation local, while opponents see it as undoing the voter approved ‘Clean Missouri’ initiative.
According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s ballot measures page Missouri Amendment 3 is asking voters to amend the constitution to ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees, reduce legislative campaign contribution limits from $2,500 to $2,400 and change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018 by 1- transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the nonpartisan state demographer to governor-appointed bipartisan commissions, and 2 – modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.
We spoke with local representatives of both the Democrat and Republican parties and we start there, with why Republicans are for Amendment 3, specifically, the redistricting process.
Robert Stokes with the Joplin Republican Headquarters says their reason for favoring Amendment 3, is they feel it keeps representation local instead of making districts larger and having large areas of the state without direct local representation. “In order to get competitive balance, those representatives would either be representing this, some parts of this area and areas all the way up to the Kansas City area, or instead of being represented by those individuals or people from this area, we’d be represented by people from Kansas City, now you might have a fifty-fifty mix, but you wouldn’t necessarily be able to go find your local representative and it wouldn’t be someone who knew and lived in your community.”
However, Krista Stark with the Southwest Missouri Democrats disagrees, saying the Democrat party has concerns over Amendment 3 reversing what voters approved with what was called ‘Clean Missouri’ back in 2018, and allowing gerrymandering of local districts. “Gerrymandering is a negative thing that no state should do, I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, no party should be gerrymandering districts in a way that unfairly favors their party and causes people to be elected that get a lower percentage of the vote.”