MO Groups, Voters Urge Fairness, Transparency in Redistricting
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Partisan tensions have been apparent in Missouri's redistricting process as commissions work to draw legislative maps and lawmakers prepare to draw congressional ones.
The Show-Me State's redistricting commissions for state House and Senate maps are made up of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.
Joan Gentry, voter services chair for the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri, said Republicans have submitted one map and Democrats another, but the process of bringing them together has not been transparent. She contended transparency and more fairness are the best ways to improve the process.
"We are a super majority state in terms of one party," Gentry acknowledged. "But there are certainly areas where there could be more competition, which in turn I think increases the voter turnout."
The Commissions have until Dec. 23 to reach a tentative agreement. If they deadlock, a three-judge panel will take over. Lawmakers are charged with drawing congressional maps, which they will do when the session begins in January.
Jordan DeLoach, director of communications for the group State Voices, said it is important to keep "communities of interest" together, so they can have a choice over their daily lives, whether it be who their representative is, what health care they receive or what education they are able to get for their children.
"Regardless of how the maps turn out, we're gonna keep fighting, we're gonna keep building together until all of our folks have their voices, votes and needs heard," DeLoach asserted. "And redistricting, community districting, is an excellent way to start getting people really engaged in that process."
According to a recent report prepared on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Missouri, Missouri voters are roughly 46% Democrat and 53% Republican, although Democrats are concentrated in cities and metro areas and Republicans are more spread out in rural parts of the state.
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