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Missouri state auditor Nicole Galloway

Missouri state auditor Nicole Galloway explains why she has launched a special task force to monitor the financial health of Missouri's rural hospitals during an interview withe business reporter Samantha Liss on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, at the Post-Dispatch. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Wednesday plans to advertise the job of “nonpartisan demographer” — the person who will redraw state legislative maps after the 2020 census.

The demographer is a position approved by voters in 2018 as part of the Amendment 1, or Clean Missouri, ballot initiative.

Galloway will begin accepting applications on Sept. 5. The deadline to apply for the job is Dec. 4. As outlined in the constitutional amendment, Galloway, a Democrat, said her office would give the names of at least three applicants to the Missouri Senate majority and minority leaders in January.

The two Senate leaders will make the hiring decision.

Galloway said the position should be housed in the state Office of Administration, not the auditor’s office. The Office of Administration, which is controlled by Gov. Mike Parson, had not responded to a letter from Galloway expressing this, her office said.

Republicans had argued that a bipartisan panel, rather than an appointed demographer, should decide how state House and Senate maps are drawn.

Critics of that system said the panel had historically been loaded with political insiders who engaged in horsetrading. After the 2010 census, when the panel deadlocked, a panel of judges finalized the maps.

Democrats have long argued those maps gave a lopsided advantage to Republicans, who hold super-majorities in both legislative chambers.

Republicans this legislative session tried to place a question on the 2020 ballot that would ask voters to scrap the demographer. That effort failed, but the GOP could still push such a question during the 2020 session.

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Jack Suntrup covers state government and politics for the Post-Dispatch.