Missouri's Amendment 3, which sought a constitutional amendment to undo the Clean Missouri redistricting plan, won a slim victory early Wednesday morning.
The amendment had garnered 50.91% of the vote as of 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, With all 3,692 statewide precincts reporting, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the amendment garnered more than 51% percent of the vote, with 1,471,892 votes in favor and 1,413,223 against.
Missouri voters in 2018 had approved a ballot measure known as Clean Missouri that was designed to diminish the potential for political influences in redistricting. It required a nonpartisan demographer to draw state House and Senate districts to achieve what proponents said would be “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness” as determined by a specific mathematical formula.
An Associated Press analysis showed that the formula likely would lead to Democratic gains in the Legislature while dropping Republican majorities closer to the more even partisan division often reflected in statewide races.
In response, the Republican-led Legislature earlier this year drafted Amendment 3 and submitted it for the November ballot. It's a constitutional amendment that abolishes the nonpartisan demographer position, returning the task to a pair of bipartisan commissions. The measure also changes the threshold of lobbyists’ gifts from $5 to $0 and lowers the campaign contribution limit for state Senate campaigns from $2,500 to $2,400.
State Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin, said he was pleased with the anticipated outcome. He had supported Amendment 3 because he believed the original Clean Missouri measure was "deceptive," pairing a redistricting proposal with popular ethics reform components to attract voters at the time.
"Missouri voters are plenty smart. The decision to put Amendment 3 on the ballot had nothing to do with suggesting Missouri voters didn't know what they were doing (in 2018)," he said. "It had to do with clarifying (the 2018 ballot measure)."
Representatives working with Clean Missouri, who had campaigned heavily against Amendment 3, said they were disappointed.
"Nevertheless, we are committed to ensuring as fair an outcome as possible when new maps are drawn in 2021," they said in a statement. "Amendment 3 was written to allow for truly radical gerrymandering, but it does not require it. The broad bipartisan coalition that passed the Clean Missouri amendment will be active and engaged in the 2021 redistricting process to ensure that voters and communities come first in new maps, not politicians."
The amendment was soundly approved by local voters, according to complete but unofficial results from the county clerks. In Jasper County, it received 31,445 "yes" votes to 19,349 "no" votes. In Newton County, it received 17,411 "yes" votes to 9,992 "no" votes.
Voters rejected Amendment 1, which would have imposed term limits on elected statewide officials. Ballots cast against the measure garnered 52.6% of the vote, with a majority of precincts statewide reporting, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office.
Currently, the governor and state treasurer are the only elected state officials restricted to two consecutive four-year terms. The amendment would have placed the same restriction on the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor.
Supporters had said expanding term limits to all statewide offices would have brought consistency across the offices and would have prevented career politicians, but opponents argued the amendment attempted to address a problem that doesn’t exist and would have deprived statewide offices of experienced administrators.
Local voters were essentially split on this issue, according to complete but unofficial results from the county clerks. In Jasper County, the amendment received 25,137 "yes" votes and 25,348 "no" votes. In Newton County, it received 13,255 "yes" votes and 13,865 "no" votes.