ST. LOUIS–Missouri's top election official says the state may have to use current congressional boundaries in August's primary election even if lawmakers in Jefferson City are able to broker a redistricting compromise in the waning days of the 2022 legislative session.
"We're within a week, two weeks from I think having to say even if a map is passed it's too late for us to implement that without having real concerns about voter confusion and potentially being difficulties with the election," Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft told Spectrum News Tuesday.
"We are getting very close though to the point where it will be difficult at best for the election authorities to make the changes they need to the parameters of our elections to remake the ballots," he said. "The doorway's closing."
The legislative session ends May 13. Ballots have to be certified ten weeks out from the August 2 primary, which this year means May 24. Another factor to watch? The potential for a statewide ballot question that would need to be added following the May 8 deadline for signed petitions to be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. Missouri Governor Mike Parson ultimately assigns statewide ballot questions to a specific election. Ashcroft said primary ballots have to be ready to go out to overseas voters and those serving in the military, by the first week of June.
A Cole County judge is set to hear motions on a pair of redistricting lawsuits on Monday afternoon. Republicans and Democrats have both filed suit, claiming the state can't use existing boundaries because they are now overpopulated according to the most recent census count and not constitutionally representative. Ashcroft maintains that Missouri Supreme Court precedent only allows for state lawmakers to draw the maps.