Proportional representation in the Missouri General Assembly
Our proposal would reduce the size of the Missouri House of Representatives from 163 members (one of the largest legislatures in the United States) to 80 members. Voters in each of Missouri’s eight congressional district would elect ten representatives.
The size of the Missouri Senate would remain the same – 34 members – who have been and will remain divided into two classes of 17 each. Each class is elected for four year terms and come up for election in alternating election years. If our ballot proposal is adopted, members of the Missouri Senate would be elected on an at-large, state-wide basis, instead of representing senatorial districts within the state.
In primary elections, voters would cast a vote in a the party primary of their choice for one candidate for the senate and one candidate for the house. Based on the results of the primary election, each party would construct an ordered list of candidates from that party for the general election, with the candidate receiving the most votes placed first on the list, the candidate with the second-most votes listed second, etc. Each party’s list would include up to 17 candidates for the Missouri Senate and 10 candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives for each congressional district.
In the general election, each voter would cast a single vote for the ordered list of one of the political parties on the ballot, or for a single independent candidate (who has earned a spot on the ballot by gathering the required number of signatures), or for a write-in candidate (who has properly registered as a write-in candidate).
Parties would then be awarded the appropriate number of seats based on the percentage of the total vote received by each party. For seats in the Missouri House, a party would get one seat for every 10% of the vote in each congressional district. A party getting 50% of the vote would be awarded five of the ten seats from that district and the top five candidates on that party’s ordered list would be elected. A party getting 10% of the vote in a congressional district would get one seat and only the top candidate on that party’s ordered list would be elected.
(The exact petition language for the tabulation process is provided below.)
How minor parties and independent candidates get on the ballot (exact petition language):
A political party having no candidate for statewide office receiving, nor having received as a political party, at least two percent of the total vote in the preceding general election, may qualify for a place on the ballot for the house in each congressional district by presenting petitions signed by one-half of one per cent of the legal voters in that congressional district. An independent candidate may qualify for a place on the ballot in a congressional district by presenting petitions signed by one-fifth of one percent of the legal voters in that congressional district. A political party having no candidate for statewide office receiving, nor having received as a political party, at least two percent of the total vote in the preceding general election, may qualify for a place on the ballot for the senate by presenting petitions signed by one-half of one per cent of the legal voters in the state of Missouri. An independent candidate may qualify for a place on the ballot for the senate by presenting petitions signed by one-fifth of one percent of the legal voters in the state of Missouri. The number of “legal voters” is equal to, and determined by, the total vote for governor in the general election last preceding. Said petitions are to be delivered to the secretary of state no later than ninety days preceding the general election. At the time the petitions are presented, the political party will also notify the secretary of state of the method to be used by said party in nominating a slate of candidates.
The signatures on petitions submitted by independent candidates and political parties shall be subject to verification according to the procedures in the code of state regulations for independent candidate petitions in force at the time the petitions are submitted.
In each general election, each voter will cast a single vote for the ordered list of a political party, or for a single independent candidate appearing on the ballot, or for a single write-in vote for a candidate not appearing on the ballot, having properly registered with the secretary of state as a write-in candidate.
Tabulation process for awarding seats (exact petition language):
To determine how many candidates in the house of representatives and the senate will be elected from each political party and which independent or write-in candidates will be elected (if any), the total number of valid votes cast for all parties and independent candidates will be divided by the number of seats to be elected to the house of representatives or to the senate. The resulting number will then be rounded to the nearest whole number. The total number of votes cast for each party or independent or write-in candidate will then be divided by that number and that number of candidates from each party is elected, with any remaining votes for each party above the number needed to elect that many candidates calculated as “surplus votes” for that party. Any independent candidate or valid write-in candidate receiving at least the number of votes needed for a seat is elected. The votes for any party or independent candidate falling short of the number needed to be elected are also treated as surplus votes.
The surplus votes of any political party or independent candidate having surplus votes, but not having enough surplus votes to win an additional seat, or a seat, may have those surplus votes transferred to another political party or independent candidate by notifying the Secretary of State in writing at least fourteen days before the date of the general election.
The number of candidates thus elected is calculated and subtracted from the total number of candidates to be elected. If additional candidates remain to be elected, the highest ordered remaining candidate from a party list, or independent candidate with the highest number of surplus votes, is elected. The number of surplus votes required to be elected is then deducted from that party’s total votes and the process repeated until the requisite number of candidates has been elected.
In both primary and general elections, officials shall determine a random selection algorithm, prior to tabulation, to resolve ties between candidates. If a tie occurs at any point in the tabulation procedure and tabulation cannot proceed until the tie is resolved, then the random selection algorithm shall resolve the tie.
If a senator or representative resigns, dies, or is removed from office for any reason during the subsequent legislative sessions, the seat shall be filled by the next candidate from her or his party’s ordered list, or in the case of an independent candidate, the candidate who would have been elected had there been one more member elected using the prescribed method for tabulating votes.