JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri is soliciting candidates to take on the task of drawing the state’s legislative districts following the 2020 census.
The job requires a degree in Demography, Geography, Statistics, Economics, Sociology, Urban Planning, Anthropology, Epidemiology, or Actuarial Science along with professional experience. Anyone who has served in a partisan, elected position within four years of applying to be the demographer is not eligible.
On Thursday, the State Auditor’s Office began accepting applications for the nonpartisan state demographer — a position created by the so-called Clean Missouri Amendment, which passed in November 2018.
All submitted applications will be posted online, according to the Auditor’s Office. The application for nonpartisan state demographer are available online and will be open until Dec. 4.
Qualifications for the position will be identical to the state’s current requirements for the existing position of state demographer, which is assigned to and employed by the Office of Administration.
The State Auditor’s Office will not conduct interviews of applicants.
The auditor expects to submit the names of applicants — a minimum of three people — to the Senate majority and minority leaders in January 2020. It will then be up to the two senators to select a nonpartisan state demographer — if they can agree on an individual.
If the two party leaders disagree, they would each be able to take names off the list before the demographer would be picked through a lottery system.
Whoever is awarded the position is barred from holding office as a member of the General Assembly for four years following the date of the presentation of his or her most recent legislative redistricting map to the House Apportionment Commission or the Senatorial Apportionment Commission.
The map, once drawn, still goes to a House-appointed commission, which then will still hold meetings, public comment hearings, and have the ability to make changes to the map.
“Districts shall be designed in a manner that achieves both partisan fairness and, secondarily, competitiveness,” the amendment said. “Partisan fairness means that parties shall be able to translate their popular support into legislative representation with approximately equal efficiency. Competitiveness means that parties’ legislative representation shall be substantially and similarly responsive to shifts in the electorate’s preferences.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.