Missouri court says redistricting plan’s summary language has ‘major problems’

Gavel and Law book

The Missouri Court of Appeals says part of the summary language for the Amendment 3 November ballot measure has “major problems” and needs new wording. In a written court decision Monday, the three-judge panel says the description, written by the Republican-controlled Legislature, “fails to acknowledge” what the amendment would do, which is to “substantially modify, and reorder the districting criteria approved by voters” in 2018.

The court unanimously ordered the summary to explain that the measure would transfer responsibility for drawing districts from a non-partisan demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions. It does not have a problem with language on the provisions detailing paid lobbyist gift restrictions and campaign donation limits.

On August 17, Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce ordered the ballot summary to be changed because she said the language is “misleading, unfair, and insufficient” and therefore in violation of state law. She submitted a description that went further in explaining the lobbyist and campaign gift restrictions.

The “No on Amendment 3” campaign sued some state officials over the language. The state could ask to have the case transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court.

According to Missouri Secretary of State spokesperson Maura Browning, the language must be finalized by September 8 for the November ballot.

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