Proportional Representation (MO)

If our proposal for proportional representation in the Missouri General Assembly is enacted, state senators would be elected at-large (on a state-wide basis), with 17 members of the 34 seat Senate elected to four-year terms at each general election in even-numbered years. The Missouri House of Representatives would consist of 10 members elected from each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. This would reduce the size of the Missouri House from 163 members to 80 members, saving the taxpayers of Missouri approximately $7 million per year.

Our proposal utilizes the “ordered-party list” form of PR. In primary elections, the voters in each party would vote for individual candidates from each party, with the top ten vote getters in each party placed in an ordered list (the candidate with the most votes listed first, the second most votes listed second, etc.).

In the general election, voters would vote for a party and its ordered list of candidates (or for an independent candidate, who would earn a place on the ballot by gathering signatures on a petition). Each party would be given a percentage of the seats in each house of the General Assembly equal to the percentage of the total votes cast received by each party. If a party gets 50% of the votes, it would get 50% of the seats. If a party gets 10% of the votes, it would get 10% of the seats.

This means a party (or independent candidate) would need to get approximately 6% of the vote state-wide to win each of the seats in the Senate up for election every two years and 10% of the votes in a congressional district for each seat in the Missouri House.

This petition has been approved for circulation. If enough signatures are obtained by May 3, 2020, it will be on the ballot in Missouri on November 3, 2020.  If approved by the voters, it will be effective 30 days later.

Click here for a more detailed description of proportional representation and a description of the benefits.

Here is a link to the full and complete text of this initiative petition.

Article III of the Missouri Constitution (As it would read as amended by this proposal)

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

Article III Section 4. Each representative shall be twenty-four years of age, and next before the day of his election shall have been a qualified voter for two years and a resident of the county or district which he is chosen to represent for one year, if such county or district shall have been so long established, and if not, then of the county or district from which the same shall have been taken.

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. 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.

a. 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. 

b. 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.

c. 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.

d.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.

e. 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.

f. 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.

g. 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.

h. 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 ten 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.