I’m just a regular guy. I’m not a politician, I don’t run a PAC and, frankly, I don’t typically involve myself in politics. For those very reasons I felt it necessary to describe why voting “no” on Amendment 3 is so important.
When you step into the voting booth and read the ballot language on Amendment 3, at first glance it appears positive: banning gifts to politicians and lowering contributions to their campaigns. With such a proposal, one might think that politicians would be strongly opposed to such a change.
But curiously, it’s the opposite. Why are so many of the folks in support of Amendment 3 politicians?
You see, Amendment 3 was written by politicians, for politicians. The promises of a “cleaner Missouri” are just smoke and mirrors, designed to trick you into voting for it.
Here’s what the language on the ballot doesn’t tell you:
- Lobbyists’ gifts to legislators are already capped at just five dollars
- Legislative campaign contributions are only being reduced from $2,500 to $2,400
- The redistricting process currently in place will be scrapped, allowing legislative maps to be drawn by Missouri politicians instead of a nonpartisan demographer
That last point is pretty important.
As you may know, we all live in districts and elect a representative. Districts are just areas drawn on a map, and whether Republican or Democrat, you choose who represents your district.
As it stands today, the law — that nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters approved in 2018 — is that legislative maps are drawn by a “nonpartisan demographer,” in other words, an independent map maker. This person, a Missouri resident, is selected through an application process and approved by both political parties. This helps ensure that districts are drawn fairly and represent everyone in our communities.
Amendment 3 aims to change this by repealing the law that we, the people, voted on. It gives up control of the drawing of our districts to Missouri legislators themselves. If Amendment 3 passes, politicians could skew the maps to favor certain neighborhoods to give themselves more votes and stay in power.
No wonder so many politicians support Amendment 3.
But wait, there’s more! The ballot language includes one other line: “Individual local governmental entities expect significant decreased revenues…” In short, if Amendment 3 passes, municipalities and towns will be impacted because they won’t receive as much in state funding.
The reason for this is because funding is determined by population, and Amendment 3 changes who is considered in the population of your district. Deep in the fine print, the Senate joint resolution indicates that “Districts … shall be drawn on the basis of one person, one vote.” In layman’s terms, this comes down to who is considered when drawing legislative maps.
In this case, it means that children (because they are not yet old enough to vote) may not be included in the population count of a district, as well as any other non-eligible voters. As of our last census, 22 percent of Missouri’s population were under the age of 18. This would be a massive blow to funding for our small town roads, schools, parks, and more.
When reviewing all of these details, it becomes clear that Amendment 3 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The ballot language has been written to deceive you. It was created by politicians as a means of keeping themselves in office.
So for the rest of us, who are just regular folks, don’t take the bait. Vote “no” on Amendment 3.
Eric Zigler is a resident of New Melle.