Buchanan County voters mirrored statewide election results in all races except one Tuesday night: voting down a constitutional amendment that would undo a 2018 initiative determining the way legislative districts are drawn.
Amendment 3 passed statewide by about two percentage points.
The amendment, widely supported by local Republican officeholders, was defeated in Buchanan County by 206 votes. Local voters sent a slate of three new conservative officeholders to the courthouse, while Democrats widely urged a no vote on Amendment 3, an eyebrow raising juxtaposition. The majority of other Northwest Missouri counties passed Amendment 3.
“I can’t speak to Buchanan County but I’m overjoyed the citizens of the state of Missouri decided to put their communities above partisan interest,” Republican State Senator Dan Hegeman said.
Hegeman was the sponsor for Amendment 3. He represents all of Northwest Missouri outside of Buchanan and Platte counties, the two areas that voted down his proposal.
An analysis by News-Press NOW shows Amendment 3 was defeated in 12 of Buchanan County’s 23 election precincts. Those victories came primarily inside the St. Joseph City limits, though voters in Rushville also turned down the measure.
The largest contingent of Democratic voters according to countywide races, at the St. Joseph Visitors Bureau and Pony Express Museum, rejected the amendment by a combined 214 votes.
Other outlying areas, like Faucett, DeKalb and Agency voted for amendment three. Voters at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the largest polling place in Buchanan County, also advanced Amendment 3 by 422 votes. In all, 11 precincts voted for Amendment 3.
In Andrew County, Amendment 3 passed by about 16 percentage points. Yes voters totalled 5,519 and no voters totalled 3,842. DeKalb County voters passed Amendment 3 by an even wider percentage margin.
A similar story played out in Clinton County, with yes voters taking the prize with by over 1,000 votes. In Nodaway County, yes voters rolled by a 26% margin.
In Atchison County, yes voters won by 826 votes. Gentry County joined most of Northwest Missouri in passing Amendment 3 by 859 votes. Daviess County voters agreed by a smaller margin, passing amendment three by 265 votes.
Harrison County voters cast 3,680 votes on the Amendment 3 question, with yes voters snagging just over two-thirds of the vote.
Less than one thousand votes were cast on amendment three in Caldwell County, with yes voters winning by 207 votes. Two-thirds of Caldwell County voters who voted on the amendment one didn’t cast a ballot on Amendment 3.
Platte County voters joined with Buchanan County, rejecting Amendment 3 by a narrow margin. No voters amassed 28,816 ballots, with yes voters contributing 27,962 ballots.
Clean Missouri, the campaign that helped pass the 2018 initiative and advocated for the defeat of Amendment 3, released a statement on election night.
“We are of course very disappointed that the politicians’ lies and deception appear to have been effective enough to pass Amendment 3,” the statement said. “Amendment 3 was written to allow for truly radical gerrymandering, but it does not require it. The broad, bipartisan coalition that passed the Clean Missouri Amendment will be active and engaged in the 2021 redistricting process to ensure that voters and communities come first in new maps, not politicians.”
The legislative map will know by drawn by a “bipartisan commissions” appointed by Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson. Had the amendment not passed, the districts would’ve been drawn by non-partisan bureaucrat, known as a demographer, appointed by Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, subject to confirmation by the Missouri State Senate.
In the past, the commissions have been composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, with party leaders giving the governor a pool to chose from for each side.
Opponents to the amendment have said it will lead to children and non-voters being left out of the legislative districts, and that Missouri would be the only state to do so.
Hegeman has previously said its possible children won’t be counted, but that the amendment doesn’t require it.