Missouri state legislators elect US House of Representatives districts with a GOP advantage.


Finally breaking the deadlock, the Missouri Legislature finalized Thursday the new House of Representatives districts expected to continue Republican electoral dominance in the former swing state, which is turning increasingly red.

Missouri was one of the last states to establish new US House of Representatives districts based on the 2020 census. That’s because Republicans, who control both Congresses, have spent a lot of time arguing with each other about how aggressively they draw constituencies to their advantage, and which communities to divide while maintaining population balance between constituencies.

At 6 p.m. Friday, the deadline for the bill’s passage, the Senate approved a map passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week 22-11 on Thursday night. The Senate stopped working on all other bills and ended the session.

The redistricting bill now goes to Republican Governor Mike Parson to become law.

Because new constituencies are taking too long to pass, Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has warned that local electoral authorities may not have enough time to adjust everyone’s voting address correctly before voting for the August 2 primary is ready. . As a result, he said, some voters may receive the wrong ballot.

In many states, Democrats and Republicans have attempted to use the once-decade redistricting process to give candidates an advantage as they compete for control of the closely divided U.S. House of Representatives. However, it did not work in all cases.

Courts in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Ohio have all illegally flipped the drawn map. Legal disputes continue in many states. New Hampshire is the only state outside of Missouri that has not enacted at least a redistricting plan.

Some Missouri Republicans pushed the aggressive gerrymanders to divide the Democratic-leaning Kansas City and give Republicans a chance to win seven of the state’s eight seats. However, GOP legislative leaders feared that it could backfire by dispersing voters too thinly, and ultimately opted for a plan to strengthen their power in the six constituencies they currently hold.

“I think gerrymandering is wrong no matter who you are,” Senate Minority Leader Caleb Rowden defended the passed guidance.

He called this a “reasonably strong 6-2 map” for Republicans, but conservative state senator Bob Onder criticized his peers for not adopting a more partisan plan. “We’re playing t-ball,” he said, while lawmakers from other states took a “hard stand” on redistricting.

Missouri has only one relatively competitive constituency for the House of Representatives. District 2 of the St. Louis suburb is owned by Republican Congressman Ann Wagner. Republicans have made it a priority to strengthen the region against the interests of Democrats.

The new plan boosts Republican voter turnout by 3 percentage points more than the current constituency, according to analysis by legislative staff focused on the best election results of 2016-2020.

Republican votes would be reduced by a similar margin in the neighboring District 3, which encompasses the St. Louis area and stretches west to central Missouri. However, GOP will still have significant advantages.

The rezoning plan also supports Democrats by redrawing the 5th District to focus more narrowly on the Kansas City area instead of expanding into rural areas as is the case today.

Some lawmakers said the attempt to connect Kansas City residents with rural voters made no sense.

Senator Mike Bernskoetter, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said, “I think the map helps to balance the different views and interests of every region of Missouri and its various congressional districts.”

One of the communities most affected by the redistricting plan will be Colombia, the state’s fourth-largest city and home to the University of Missouri. A dividing line across the city would move the college campuses and the south of the city to District 3, leaving the northern portion of District 4 extending west to the Kansas border.

Some states started redistricting immediately after the Census Bureau released data last August, but Missouri waited until the legislative session began in January. The House quickly passed the plan, but the Senate did not object to its own version until March. The two senators have been at odds as candidates run for Congress without knowing the shape of the new constituency. Several lawsuits have been filed to take action in the new area, but the court has not yet ordered it.

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