Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) is looking for candidates to fill the state’s position of nonpartisan demographer, which the voter-approved Amendment 1 added to the Missouri Constitution in 2018. The nonpartisan demographer is responsible for drawing state legislative redistricting maps. As of 2019, the position of nonpartisan demographer is unique amongst the states.
Galloway said her office will accept applications between September 5 and December 4, 2019. Amendment 1 requires applicants to be state residents and to not have served in a partisan, elected position during the previous four years. Amendment 1 gives the state auditor the power to determine what other qualifications and expertise an applicant would need to serve as the nonpartisan demographer. So, what minimum qualifications does an individual need to serve as the state’s new nonpartisan demographer? There are two possible routes to meeting the minimum requirements:
(1) A Master’s degree in Demography, Geography, Statistics, Economics, Sociology, Urban Planning, Anthropology, Epidemiology, or Actuarial Science, with coursework in demographic or statistical analysis, and three or more years of experience in modeling, analysis, forecasting and project management, and utilizing geographic information systems, database, and statistical software applications.
(2) A Bachelor’s degree in the same-fields mentioned above and five or more years of experience in the aforementioned areas.
In 2020, the state auditor will select at least three applicants with sufficient experience and qualifications from the pool of submissions and submit the list to the Missouri State Senate’s majority leader and minority leader. If the majority and minority leaders agree on a single candidate, then that person will be selected to serve as the nonpartisan demographer. If the leaders disagree, each will strike one-third of the candidates from the list, and the auditor will conduct a random lottery of the remaining applicants for the job.
The nonpartisan demographer would need to consider the following criteria when drawing maps, in order of priority: (a) equal population; (b) requirements of the U.S. Constitution and federal law; (c) partisan fairness, defined as parties being able to translate their popular support into legislative representation; (d) competitiveness, defined as parties’ representation in the state legislature being similarly responsive to changes in the electorate’s preferences; (e) contiguousness; (f) coincide with boundaries of political subdivisions, such as counties and towns; and (g) compactness. The concepts of partisan fairness and competitiveness are based on formulas found in Amendment 1.
The nonpartisan demographer will file maps with the House and Senate apportionment commissions. Both commissions are composed of half Democrats and half Republicans. To make changes to the demographer’s proposed legislative redistricting map, the plan needs to win the support of 70 percent of the commissioners in the respective commission. If no changes are made or approved, the demographer’s tentative plan becomes final.