POLITICS
08/31/2015 05:09 pm ET

Gerrymandering Snafu Puts Proposed Tax Hike In The Hands Of A Single Voter

It all comes down to the decision of a 23-year-old college student.

Business leaders in Columbia, Missouri, are caught in a web of their own spinning Monday, after their attempt to keep citizens from casting ballots on a sales tax measure inadvertently left the proposed tax's fate in the hands of just one voter.

In April, supporters of the half-cent sales tax intentionally drew the boundaries of a newly-formed community improvement district to limit the decision to business owners in the area -- a feat only possible if the district contained no registered voters. Under Missouri state law, if no registered voters live in a district, property owners vote instead, reports the AP.

Indeed, had everything gone to plan, property owners within the CID would have voted sometime this August, likely passing the tax without incident.

The only problem? The CID somehow overlooked Jen Henderson, a 23-year-old University of Missouri student who lives in the district -- and happens to be its lone registered voter, reports the Columbia Daily Tribune.

That means Henderson has complete say over whether or not the tax hike is approved.

Henderson told the Daily Tribune she's still deciding how she'll vote, but says CID leaders approached her and encouraged her to consider "unregistering" and not voting at all, a tactic she deemed "manipulative."

Henderson declined to comment further to The Huffington Post, and the CID did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

It's unclear how the rest of the community feels about the proposed tax, but in an editorial published last Thursday, Daily Tribune Publisher Emeritus Henry J. Waters III endorsed the project, despite the "gerrymandering effort [which] bit them in the behind."

H/T Quartz

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