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Leader Of Campaign To Defeat Amendment 3 Speaks Out

File Photo | Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio
Amendment 3 would repeal a state legislative system that was approved in a 2018 ballot initiative known as Clean Missouri.

Sean Soendker Nicholson, who is leading the campaign to defeat Amendment 3 on the Nov. 3 ballot, is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. Nicholson talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about why voters should reject the measure that overhauls Missouri’s state legislative redistricting system.

Nicholson is a Democratic political consultant who was part of the successful 2018 campaign to pass Clean Missouri. If Amendment 3 fails to repeal Clean Missouri, a demographer will hold much of the power to draw House and Senate maps with an emphasis on competitiveness and partisan fairness.

Opponents of Clean Missouri believe that the system will cause all sorts of unintended consequences. The primarily Republican detractors contend that the plan wasn’t about fairness, but instead was meant to give Democrats an advantage in a state that’s becoming more Republican.

Missouri Farm Bureau Chairman Blake Hurst recorded an episode of Politically Speaking about why voters should back Amendment 3. You can hear that episode here.

Here’s what Nicholson had to say on the show:

  • He responded to mainly Republican contentions that Clean Missouri was inherently deceptive, since it paired popular ideas like curtailing lobbyist gifts and making it harder for lawmakers and staff to become lobbyists with a wholesale change of state legislative redistricting.
  • Nicholson talked about some of the consequences of emphasizing compactness over competitiveness and partisan fairness, which is one of the biggest changes brought about by Amendment 3.
  • He discussed why he thinks it was a bad idea to only count eligible voters, as opposed to the total population of voters. He said that the “eligible voter standard” wasn’t required under Amendment 3, but added that having it as an option could mean that children aren’t counted during the redistricting process.
  • He talked about why the state auditor’s office, as opposed to the governor or secretary of state, is involved in forwarding demographer candidates to the Senate’s majority and minority leaders. The involvement of the auditor has been a source of contention, since the current officeholder, Nicole Galloway, is the only Democratic statewide official in office now in Missouri.

Amendment 3 is easily the most contentious ballot initiative up for a vote this November. Most of the money and organizational power has gone to defeat the measure, which has helped Nicholson’s side run television ads criticizing the proposal.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Sean Soendker Nicholson on Twitter: @ssnich

Music: “In The Meantime” by Spacehog

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.