ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - As it stands now, Missouri’s constitution will be amended to include a section concerning the “right to farm,” after Amendment 1 passed by a mere 2500 votes. With the margin so narrow, opponents of the amendment have been figuring out their next moves.
It’s no mystery why the Right to Farm Amendment passed, according to Post-Dispatch Political Editor Christopher Ave. He explains, "I think that the opponents of right to farm had a tough road to hoe, sort to speak, in articulating why someone should vote against a constitutional right to be a farmer. Farming is still an iconic profession in the state of Missouri.”
Joe Maxwell is a hog farmer and former lieutenant governor strongly opposed to this amendment.
He and his allies spent the day strategizing, hopeful that their narrow loss might be reversed.
“What I hope is that we ensure that every vote was counted accurately, and that if not, if it would make a difference, that we have legal avenues that we could pursue to raise those issues within the court system,” says Maxwell.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, this ballot initiative only passed by .25%, which would make it eligible for a state-funded recount. But a recount can't be requested until the election result is certified, and that could be as late as August 26th.
Some "right to farm" opponents, which include farmers, animal welfare groups, and food safety advocates, have already offered to donate funds to help with recount legal fees. “If these people are actually going to give us money to go forward, we want to make sure it’s really viable; that the end result is we have a different outcome,” Maxwell explains.
In the meantime, this coalition will also look for any anomalies, both at the polls and in the campaign.
Maxwell says they won’t give up, because preserving the state’s constitution is far too important: “It’s really a sacred document. It should stand for the people of a state or the country. And infusing in that, or enshrining in that, an industry’s rights is just wrong.”
The Humane Society of Missouri, also opposed to Amendment 1 because of its possible implications on substandard dog breeding, released the following statement: “A request for a recount of the vote could be imminent, given the narrow margin of approval of less than one percent. No matter the outcome, the Humane Society of Missouri will continue to work tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of Missouri’s companion animals.”