Social studies teacher Brittyne Fitzgerald has been teaching the “Road to the Election” elective at Crossroads since 2004. Every four years students have a place to explore the issues at hand in the presidential election, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, much of her syllabus had to change.
“It’s always a look at national and state races, but in the past, we were able to take a trip to DC and students had been required to volunteer their time for a candidate or ballot issue five hours per week,” she notes. “This year, we used that time to really dive a little deeper into issues important to Missourians.”
One of those issues was Amendment 3, a state ballot initiative covering issues such as redistricting. Students had to form arguments both for and against the amendment, and write a short essay on their thoughts on the amendment. Read junior Sam Finer’s essay on Amendment 3 below.
Popping into the Zoom session for class on Wednesday, students were engaged talking about the headlines for the past few days (the Supreme Court’s decision on mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania), predictions about Tuesday, and recent polling. Several of the students in the class were able to vote for the first time as the class progressed and shared their excitement about being in the voting booth.
Brittyne says that many students – who tend to be more introverted in other classes — shine in class discussions in this elective. “Give kids the right content and they love it,” she adds.
Voter Recommendation MO Amendment 3
By Sam Finer
This year on November 3, 2020, a national general election will be held. On the ballot registered voters will be able to vote for who they want their state electoral college members to vote for as President of the United States along with its Vice-President, who they want to represent their district in the House of Representatives (all representatives are up for election), and in some states, who will represent them in the Senate (one-third of all senators are up for election). On the state level, specifically in Missouri, the Governor, judges, and other government officials will be up for election. Registered voters of Missouri will also be able to vote on bills and Missouri constitutional amendments that they want to be enacted in the State of Missouri. One of such amendments on the ballot is Missouri Amendment 3. This amendment was sponsored by Missouri State Senator Dan Hegeman, a member of the Republican party, of Missouri District 12. Fair Missouri, a one ballot committee, has come out in support and has raised over $246,000 as of June this year. Clean Missouri has come out against this amendment and has raised over $1.3 million in this election cycle. This group was also responsible for helping to raise $5.63 million and pass Missouri Amendment 1 in 2018 that passed with 62% of the vote from Missouri voters. (Ballotpedia)
On the side of those who support this proposed amendment, this amendment would reform campaign finance law. For starters, the amendment would lower the limit on the amount of money by $100 on campaign contributions to a state senator’s campaign from $2,500 to $2,400. This amendment would also limit the amount of gifts lobbyists are allowed to give from $5 to $0. This amendment would further limit the ability of lobbyists and corporations to persuade politicians even if the limit change is extremely small. (Ballotpedia)
On the other hand, this amendment would remove the position of a nonpartisan demographer and replace them with a bipartisan commission appointed by the governor. This commission would be in charge of redistricting the state ever ten years when the census occurs. It is very likely that due to the political structure and make-up of Missouri that the governor would not likely appoint a commission that was in fact bipartisan. The amendment would also reverse what 62% of voters voted for in 2018 with Amendment 1. Amendment 1 gave the role of redistricting to a nonpartisan demographer. For the purposes of transparency, the people behind Amendment 3 were sued by Clean Missouri, Pippens et al. v. Ashcroft, for failing to mention in the ballot title of Amendment 3 that it would eliminate the role of the nonpartisan demographer and replace it with one appointed by the governor. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. This can be taken as a sign that the sponsors of Amendment 3 are attempting misleading voters. (Ballotpedia)
I recommend to voters to vote no on Amendment 3. Yes, this would limit campaign contributions and lobbyists’ abilities to persuade the government. However, these reductions are minimal as they stand and are being used to persuade voters into supporting the amendment without them truly understanding it. This amendment would further continue a line of highly polarized partisanship in Missouri that would affect the rest of the country at large. The people who are supporting the Amendment are trying to get the voters to change their minds because they were not satisfied with the outcome of Amendment 1 in 2018. They have been sued for misrepresentation of the amendment which only further supports the conclusion that this amendment is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. (Ballotpedia)
I predict that amendment 3 will not pass in Missouri. There seems to be a lot of bipartisan distaste for the amendment and the sponsors of the amendment are not running a formal campaign to pass the amendment, unlike the people who are running a formal campaign to oppose it. I was unable to find any polling on the proposed amendment, only that Amendment 1 in 2018 passed with 62% of the vote and a majority in almost, if not every single county, in Missouri. (Clean Missouri)