Reforming our political system through ballot proposals in states with the initiative.
The ballot proposal that has been submitted in Missouri provides for ranked choice voting to be used in electing members of the General Assembly. 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.
Voters will be allowed to rank at least three candidates for the Senate and three candidates for the House (from each congressional district). Where voting machines will allow more choices, voters will be able to rank up to ten candidates for each office. Voters will be able to cast all of their ranked votes for candidates from a single party, or across party lines, including independent and write-in candidates.
The petition that would amend the constitution of the state of Missouri to provide for ranked choice voting for members of the General Assembly has been submitted to the Secretary of State’s office. It should be approved for circulation by the end of December.
We are planning to begin gathering signatures on January 3, 2020. If enough signatures are collected by May 3, 2020, this proposal will be on the ballot in Missouri on November 3, 2020. If approved by voters, ranked choice voting will by implemented beginning with the election of 2022..
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 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.
§ Beginning with the election of senators and representatives to be held in the year two thousand and twenty-two there will be no primary election for those offices. All candidates who file to run for the senate or the house of representatives will be listed on the ballot for the general election, grouped by political party affiliation. Independent candidates will be grouped together. The general election shall be carried out using a system of ranked choice voting under which each voter shall be able to rank a minimum of three candidates for the office of senator and three candidates for the office of representative in the order of the voter’s preference. If feasible, the ballot shall permit voters to rank a total of ten candidates for the senate and ten candidates for the house, or as close to that number as feasible. Voters shall be able to request either a general ballot listing all of the candidates for all political parties and all independent candidates, a single-party ballot listing only the candidates affiliated with a single political party, or a ballot listing only independent candidates. A number of spaces equal to the number of choices voters are able to rank shall be provided to write in the names of candidates not appearing on the ballot. All write-in candidates who have properly registered with the secretary of state will be treated as independent candidates when votes are tabulated. The ballot shall be simple and easy to understand, with instructions necessary to enable voters to successfully cast ballots under the system.
§ In tabulating the results of each general election, first choice votes will first be counted to determine how many seats each political party is awarded in the senate and in the house of representatives and which independent candidates will be awarded seats. The “election threshold” will be determined by dividing the total number of ballots cast by seventeen, for seats in the senate, and by twenty in each congressional district, for seats in the house of representatives. The number of seats to be filled by candidates from each political party will then be provisionally determined by dividing the total number of first choice votes cast for all of a political party’s candidates by the election threshold, rounded down to the nearest whole number. If a voter inadvertently casts a vote for more than a single candidate as their first choice each candidate listed will be given the appropriate fraction of a whole vote. Any votes received by the candidates for each political party in excess of the product of the number of seats earned by a political party multiplied by the election threshold shall be considered “surplus votes.” Any independent candidates receiving a number of first choice votes equal to, or greater than, the election threshold is elected. The first-choice votes for any independent candidate not initially elected will be treated as surplus votes for that candidate.
§ If a single seat in either the senate or the house of representatives remains to be awarded after the initial tabulation, the party or independent candidate with the most surplus votes will be awarded that seat. If more than one seat in either chamber remains to be awarded, the party or independent candidate with the most surplus votes will be awarded the first additional seat, and a number of surplus votes equal to the number of surplus votes held by the party or independent candidate with the second most surplus votes, plus one additional surplus vote, shall be deducted from the total number of surplus votes held by the party or independent candidate being awarded the first seat. This process shall be repeated for each additional unfilled seat until all seventeen seats, in the case of the senate, and all twenty seats from each congressional district, in the case of the house of representatives, have been provisionally awarded to a political party or independent candidate.
§ Once the number of seats to be awarded to each political party and which independent candidates have been elected is provisionally determined, the candidates to be elected from each political party will be determined by awarding points based on the rank of each vote received by a candidate. Points equal to the number of choices a voter is able to rank will be awarded for each first-choice vote. The number of points awarded for each subsequent rank will decrease by one point for each subsequent rank. A single point will be awarded for the lowest rank on each ballot. If a voter inadvertently casts a vote for more than a single candidate at any rank, each candidate listed will be given the appropriate fraction of the number of points to be awarded for that rank on that ballot. If a voter inadvertently lists a single candidate at more than one level of preference, only the point value of the highest rank will be awarded to that candidate.
§ The candidates from each political party will then be ranked according to total points received, with the candidate receiving the most points listed first and the candidate with the least points listed last. The number of candidates equal to the number of seats to which a political party is entitled are elected from that ranked list unless the point total of one or more independent candidates is greater than the point total for one or more candidates affiliated with a political party, in which case the independent candidate(s) shall be elected in place of the candidate(s) affiliated with a political party having fewer total points.
§ A political party having no candidate for statewide office receiving 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 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 one hundred and twenty days preceding the general election.
§ 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.
§ 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 or the next independent candidate who would have been elected based on total points.
§ 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 political 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.
Sign up to volunteer. Your contact information will not be shared with any other organization. We do not, and will not, send emails soliciting contributions. If you are interested in a staff position, please contact us using the form on the "Contact Us" page.
Even grassroots movements like ours require financial support. Please support our efforts with a secure, on-line contribution through Act Blue.
To make a contribution by check or money order, send to:
Government by the People
P. O. Box 2231
Independence, Missouri 64055
Note: Please include your occupation and employer on the memo line. (We are required to collect that information.)