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OPINION

Voters were deceived, voters are poorly served

The Examiner

Marvin Sands, Independence

To the editor:

In the past election an important issue was on the ballot that dealt with the jurisdiction boundaries of our state representative government. The issue was known as Amendment 3. The issue passed with a 51% majority. The same issue was placed on the ballot in August 2018 with the voters overwhelmingly turning it down with a 62% majority. The issue in its entirety was known as Clean Missouri.

So what changed from August 2018 to November 2020 that caused this issue to go from a 62% rejection to 51% favorability? Simply this – ballot language. More specifically ballot language deception.

As one state representative put it: “The issue was a farce, and the public was duped.”

To begin with the first three items on the ballot regarding this issue said the following:

• Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees.

• Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits.

• Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018 by: transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the nonpartisan state demographer to governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.

Way down in the ballot description was this tidbit: The paid lobbyists’ gifts were reduced by $5 and reduced the limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state senator can accept from individuals or entities by $100 per election.

What was not on the ballot but buried deep in the bill language was this tidbit: That jurisdictional lines would be drawn by a “one-man, one vote” basis.

Which raises the question: What about all the other residents who are not voters like children and other residents who are not registered voters? Why would they not be counted as residents and why would our elected representatives leave these residents out of the process on purpose?

In other words why are our elected Republican state representatives so anxious to dupe the very residents they want to vote for them and then purposely reword a ballot just a certain way? The answer to this question is very simple – so each of these selfish individuals and others like them can continue to get elected to their state positions.

Drawing legislative boundaries within certain dimensions gives these selfish individuals an advantage others may not have. It is deceptive measures like this that ruin elective politics and place dirt at the very feet of those who get elected to various offices at the various levels of our governments.

It is dishonesty at its core and cheats the very residents of our state who trod to the polls every two to four years and vote.