Proportional representation in the Missouri state legislature

This ballot proposal would put an ordered-party list form of proportional representation in place for elections to the General Assembly in Missouri. Instead of single-member districts, state senators would be elected at-large to represent the entire state and twenty members of the Missouri House would be elected from each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts instead of a single member being elected from each of 163 districts.

The results of primary elections would determine which candidates would be on each party’s ordered list, with the candidate receiving the most votes listed first and up to nineteen other candidates listed in descending order.  

In the general election voters would cast a single vote for a single party and its ordered list. (Or for an independent candidate or write-in candidate.)  The top candidates on each parties list would be awarded seats, with one seat for each five percent of the total votes cast.  The top ten candidates for a party getting 50 percent of the votes would be elected.  Only the top candidate for a party getting 5 percent of the vote would be elected. 

The size of the Missouri Senate would remain the same (34).  As is currently the case, seventeen senators would be elected every two years for a four-year term.  State senators would be elected at-large to represent all of the voters in Missouri. As with the House, results of primary elections would determine which candidates would be on each party’s ordered list.  Voters in the general election would cast a single vote for the ordered list of a single political party or for a single independent or write-in candidate. 

This petition should be approved for circulation around the second week of September.  If enough signatures are gathered by May 3, 2020, it will appear on the ballot in Missouri on November 3, 2018.  If approved by voters, it will become law 30 days later.

This is how Article Three of the Missouri Constitution would read if this proposed amendment is adopted (lengthy clauses that would be deleted have been omitted to make it easier to read):

Article III Section 3. The house of representatives shall consist of twenty members from each congressional district elected at each general election  for a term of two years.

Article III Section 5. The senate shall consist of thirty-four members elected by the qualified voters of the state of Missouri for a term of four years. 

Article III Section 6. Each senator shall be thirty years of age, and next before the day of his election shall have been a qualified voter and a resident of the state for two years.

Article III Section 7.

(a) An ordered list of candidates, ranked by number of votes received, from most to least, from each political party that is to appear on the ballot for both the senate and the house of representatives in each general election will be determined by means of a primary election, with each party electing a number of candidates up to, but not exceeding, the number of representatives to be elected from a congressional district, and senators to be elected state-wide. All qualified candidates who file for each party’s nomination will appear on the primary ballot for that party. Registered voters will be allowed to vote in one, and only one, party’s primary election, and will cast a single vote for a single candidate to be nominated from that party for each office to be elected in the general election to follow.

(b) 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 primary election. 

(c) 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.

(d) In each general election, each voter will cast a single vote for the election of representatives and a single vote for the election of senators, in each case voting 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.

(e) 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.

(f) 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 the 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 or candidate’s total votes and the process repeated until the requisite number of candidates has been elected.

(g) A 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, specifying the political party or independent candidate that is to receive their surplus votes, under these conditions.

(h) 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.

(i)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.

Article III Section 9. Until the convening of the Seventy-fourth General Assembly the House of Representatives shall consist of one hundred sixty-three members elected from the one hundred sixty-three representative districts, as they existed January 1, 1965.  Beginning with the election of representatives in the primary and general elections to be held in the year two thousand and twenty-two the House of Representatives shall consist of twenty members elected from each congressional district. In the event that members of Congress from Missouri are elected at large, congressional district boundaries will still be drawn and used in the election of members of the Missouri House of Representatives.

Article III Section 11. The first election of senators and representatives under this constitution, shall be held at the general election in the year one thousand nine hundred and forty-six when the whole number of representatives and the senators from the districts having even numbers, who shall compose the first class, shall be elected, and two years thereafter the whole number of representatives and the senators from districts having odd numbers, who shall compose the second class, shall be elected, and so on at each succeeding general election.  Beginning with the primary and general elections to be held in the year two thousand and twenty-two senators will continue to be divided into two classes, with senators from each class, as the term of that class expires, to be elected at large on a state-wide basis.

Article III Section 20(d). If any provision of sections 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 19, or 20(c) or the application thereof to anyone or to any circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of those provisions and the application of such provisions to others or other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.