A proposed ballot initiative aims to replace Missouri’s system for drawing state legislative districts with a model designed to have the number of seats won by each party more closely reflect its statewide vote. If election officials validate enough signatures collected by Clean Missouri, the group sponsoring the proposal, voters will have the final say Nov. 6. The stakes are high: Another round of redistricting begins after the 2020 census. More than $2 million has flowed into Clean Missouri’s coffers, including at least a quarter-of-a-million dollars that originated from the lobbying arm of billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network. Soros’ financial support of liberal and progressive causes around the country has made him a frequent target of conservatives. That, and support from groups representing labor, teachers, abortion-rights and other left-leaning causes has led some Republicans to cast Clean Missouri as a partisan effort to help Democrats gain ground against GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate.
Clean Missouri advocates point to support they’ve received from Republicans, like former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth and state Sen. Rob Schaaf, and argue that their plan would increase competitiveness in elections and lead to a General Assembly more representative of voters’ wishes.
A group called Advance Missouri formed in February in Kansas City to weigh possible legal challenges against Clean Missouri and has reported receiving more than $60,000 worth of contributions. Most of that has come from a Virginia-based organization called Fair Lines America Inc., which has spent money in Michigan to block a similar initiative.
Under the current system, two governor-appointed bipartisan committees draw legislative districts that are compact, contiguous and filled with roughly the same number of people.
Full Article: Missouri groups clash over proposed redistricting plan.