St. Louis Voter Guide: What To Know About The Key Contests On Your 2020 Ballot
Nov. 3 will be unlike any other Election Day. New rules for mail-in and absentee voting have granted voters more ways than ever to cast a ballot — and raised concerns about election integrity and legal challenges to the vote-by-mail policies. Officials predict an unprecedented turnout in Missouri, which as of Oct. 2 has added more than 130,000 registered voters to the rolls since 2016.
There’s much more on the 2020 ballot than selecting our next president, and St. Louis Public Radio is here to help you make informed decisions on all the key races and issues this election.
Have a question about a particular race? Confused by the new rules on voting? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to vote in 2020
Missouri has several options for people who want to vote early or from home. Mail-in voters should send ballots to their county clerk or board of elections office no later than Oct. 27. Elections officials must have mail-in ballots by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Day.
- Yes, There Is A Difference In Missouri Between Absentee And Mail-In Voting
- St. Louis On The Air: What You Need To Know About Nontraditional Voting Methods
Illinois voters who want to vote early can do so in person at a local election authority or satellite location until Nov. 2. Voters looking to avoid the polls have until Oct. 26 to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Unlike in Missouri, voters do not need to list an excuse for why they cannot vote in person on Election Day or have a notary sign their ballot. Illinois law requires election authorities to count all ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3 at the latest.
Missouri Statewide Races
The Mike Parson-Nicole Galloway showdown is one of the few governor’s races in the country seen as competitive, and both candidates have benefited from their party’s national governors associations pumping in millions of dollars. Parson, a Republican, took over the state’s top office in 2018 after Eric Greitens’ chaotic governorship ended in his resignation. Galloway has served as the state’s auditor since 2015.
- Parson Touts His Record In Bid For A Full Term As Governor
- Galloway Takes On The Challenge Of Bringing A Red State Governorship Back To Democrats
- Politically Speaking: Gov. Mike Parson On His Bid For A Full Term
- St. Louis on the Air: Auditor Nicole Galloway Makes Her Case To Be Governor
- Politically Speaking: Nicole Galloway On Her Platform To Become Missouri’s Governor
- Analysis: Can A Narrower Trump Win Help Galloway Outflank Parson?
- Galloway, Parson Campaigns Gearing Up For Expensive Fall Campaign
- Parson, Galloway Clash Over Coronavirus, Police Reform And Economy At Missouri Gubernatorial Debate
Missouri Lieutenant Governor
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe served as a state senator in mid-Missouri for seven years until 2018, when Gov. Parson appointed Kehoe to succeed him in the job. Parson then moved into the governor’s office after Greitens resigned. He faces Democrat Alissia Canady, who has served four years on the city council in Kansas City. This is the first statewide contest for either Canady or Kehoe.
- Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe On The Keys To Victory For His First Statewide Contest
- Politically Speaking: Lt. Gov. Kehoe On The Path Ahead For Missouri Republicans
- Why Democrat Alissia Canady Says She's Not The Underdog In Missouri's Lieutenant Governor Race
- Politically Speaking: Alissia Canady Breaks Down Her Missouri Lieutenant Governor Bid
Missouri Attorney General
Republican Eric Schmitt was appointed state attorney general by Parson in 2019, replacing Josh Hawley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. Schmitt had been serving as the state treasurer prior to the appointment and has served two terms as a state senator, representing parts of southwest St. Louis County. Democrat Rich Finneran served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, where he handled some of the largest financial fraud cases ever prosecuted in the Eastern District of Missouri.
- Politically Speaking: Eric Schmitt On Seeking A Full Term As Attorney General
- Politically Speaking: Rich Finneran On Why Health Care Could Be Key In His Attorney General Campaign
- Politically Speaking: Rich Finneran Makes His Case To Take On Missouri Attorney General Schmitt
- Schmitt Reflects On First Year As Missouri Attorney General — And Charts Course For 2020
Scott Fitzpatrick has been Missouri’s state treasurer since January 2019, when Parson appointed him to that role after Schmitt was appointed attorney general. Fitzpatrick, a Republican, had previously served six years in the Missouri House representing counties in the southwestern corner of the state. Democrat Vicki Englund has twice represented portions of south St. Louis County in the Missouri House. Englund, a graduate of Lindbergh High School, has also served on the Lindbergh School Board.
- Politically Speaking: Vicki Englund Charts Out Her Plan To Bring The Missouri Treasurer’s Office Into Democratic Column
- Politically Speaking: Scott Fitzpatrick On Why He Should Continue As Missouri’s Treasurer
Missouri Secretary of State
Jay Ashcroft, a Republican, is seeking a second term as Missouri Secretary of State. He faces Democrat Yinka Faleti, who stepped down as director of the nonprofit Forward Through Ferguson to campaign for office.
- Politically Speaking: Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft On His Reelection Bid And Elections During A Pandemic
- Secretary Of State Ashcroft Encourages Voters To Trust Local Officials
- Politically Speaking: Yinka Faleti Discusses Secretary Of State Bid — And Protests For Black Lives
Missouri Ballot Issues
Amendment 1: Term Limits
Amendment 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor to two terms in office. Currently, the governor and state treasurer are the only statewide positions subject to these limits.
Amendment 3: Repealing 'Clean Missouri'
Missouri voters in 2018 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment known as “Clean Missouri” that included state redistricting and ethics changes. Under Clean Missouri, a demographer would draw House and Senate maps — with an emphasis on partisan fairness and competitiveness. Republican state lawmakers didn’t agree with voters and in May approved a referendum that would repeal the Clean Missouri redistricting system if a majority of voters support Amendment 3.
- Explaining Amendment 3: Missouri Voters Will Again Decide How Their State House And Senate Maps Are Drawn
- Missouri Farm Bureau Chief Blake Hurst Makes Case For Amendment 3Leader Of Campaign To Defeat Amendment 3 Speaks Out
- Pro & Con: Amendment 3 Has Missouri Voters Back To The Drawing Board On Legislative Districts
- Appeals Court Changes Ballot Summary For Clean Missouri Repeal
- Repeal Of Clean Missouri Redistricting Plan Will Go To Voters
- Analysis: How Legislative District Maps Can Be Challenged Key In Clean Missouri Fight
- St. Louis on the Air: Why Clean Missouri Backers Hope To Stop Amendment 3
- Analysis: Clean Missouri Repeal Would Put Judges Back Into State Redistricting Spotlight
Illinois Ballot Issues
Amendment 1: Illinois Fair Tax
Illinois’ so-called Fair Tax amendment would allow state lawmakers to increase taxes incrementally on those who earn $250,000 or more annually. The proposal itself doesn’t change the income tax rate but instead permits state lawmakers to remove a mandated 4.95% flat tax from the state constitution. If voters approve the amendment, it would clear the way for a graduated tax law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in June 2019.
- It’s Not Just Illinois Billionaires In ‘Fair’ Tax Fight. Here’s Who Wants To Sway Your Vote
- Southern Illinois wouldn’t see much change with graduated tax. Why are voters opposed?
Key St. Louis-Area Congressional Races
Missouri 1st Congressional District
Cori Bush toppled a family dynasty when she bested U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in August's Democratic primary. Clay and his father, Bill Clay, had represented Missouri's 1st Congressional District, which includes much of St. Louis and parts of north St. Louis County, for more than 50 years. Bush faces two candidates, Republican nominee Anthony Rogers and Libertarian nominee Alex Furman, who have failed to mount formidable campaigns in the Democratic stronghold district. If Bush wins in November, she will be Missouri's first Black woman elected to Congress.
- Cori Bush Upsets Lacy Clay In Congressional Democratic Primary
- St. Louis on the Air: Cori Bush Sets Sights On D.C. After Toppling Clay Dynasty
Missouri 2nd Congressional District
Democratic turnout in U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner’s district has been steadily increasing since her reelection in 2014. Democrats have identified the seat as one of their top targets in November, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report now lists the race for the district as a tossup. Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp faces the four-term Republican to represent portions of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties in Congress.
- Analysis: Trump Fatigue Could Spur Realignment In Traditionally Republican Parts Of St. Louis County
- Politically Speaking: Congresswoman Ann Wagner On Her Nationally Watched Bid For Reelection
- Politically Speaking: Sen. Jill Schupp On Her High-Stakes Race With Congresswoman Ann Wagner
- St. Louis on the Air: Missouri Sen. Jill Schupp On Her Plan To Unseat Ann Wagner
- Wagner Sees Suburban St. Louis District Trending Blue, Urges GOP To Stem National Democratic Tide
Illinois 13th Congressional District
Republican Rep. Rodney Davis defeated Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan by just 2,000 votes in 2016. The 2020 contest is a rematch between the candidates for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. The district includes parts of Madison, Jersey and Bond counties in the Metro East, as well as areas near Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana.
- Illinois’ 13th District Congressional Race Is Nearly Identical To 2018
- Politically Speaking: Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan Discusses Why She’s Running Again In Illinois’ 13 Congressional District
- Politically Speaking: U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis On Health Care And Other Issues In Illinois’ 13th Congressional Race
- Coronavirus Will Make This Tight Southwestern Illinois Race For Congress Even Tighter
Key Missouri Statehouse Contests
1st Senate District
The seat represents parts of unincorporated south St. Louis County, Crestwood, Maplewood and Webster Groves. Republican candidate David Lenihan faces Democratic state Rep. Doug Beck in what is widely seen as one of the more competitive statehouse races in Missouri.
- Politically Speaking: David Lenihan On His Bid To Turn Missouri’s 1st District Senate Seat Red
- Politically Speaking: Missouri Rep. Doug Beck Charts His Policy Pathway To State Senate
15th Senate District
The district takes in portions of south central and southwest St. Louis County. The Democratic challenger, state Rep. Deb Lavender, is squaring off against Manchester Republican Andrew Koenig.
- Politically Speaking: Missouri Rep. Deb Lavender On Her High-Stakes Push To Turn 15th District Blue
- Politically Speaking: Missouri Sen. Andrew Koenig On His Tough St. Louis County Reelection Campaign
23rd Senate District
Republican state Sen. Bill Eigel is running for a second term against Democrat Richard Orr. The contest is a rematch of 2016, when Eigel bested Orr by about 20 percentage points. The district includes eastern parts of St. Charles County.
- Missouri Sen. Bill Eigel Takes St. Charles County’s Electoral Pulse For Nov. 3 Elections
- Democrat Richard Orr On His St. Charles County Rematch With Sen. Bill Eigel
Local St. Louis-Area Contests
St. Louis County Executive
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, runs for his office for the first time, against Republican Paul Berry III.
- Analysis: After Tough Primary Win, Sam Page Encounters Confluence Of Conflict
- Politically Speaking: Paul Berry III On The Big Issues In His Second St. Louis County Executive Bid
St. Louis County Council
The most competitive St. Louis County Council race in November is in the 6th District, which takes in portions of south county that include Affton, Lemay and Bella Villa. Sitting Councilman Ernie Trakas, a Republican, faces Missouri Rep. Bob Burns, a Democrat.
- Politically Speaking: St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas On Why South St. Louis County Voters Should Re-Elect Him
- Politically Speaking: Missouri Rep. Bob Burns On Shifting His Focus To St. Louis County Government
St. Louis Circuit Attorney
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner soundly defeated her Democratic primary challenger, Mary Pat Carl, in August and now seeks to retain her job as the city’s top prosecutor against Republican Daniel Zdrodowski.
- Politically Speaking: St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Makes Her Case For Reelection
- Politically Speaking: Daniel Zdrodowski Makes His Case To Be St. Louis Circuit Attorney
St. Louis: Proposition 1
St. Louis voters will choose whether to let most city employees live outside its boundaries. The policy change, if passed, would not apply to elected officials and high-level mayoral appointees.
- Should City Employees Have To Live In St. Louis? Voters Will Decide Nov. 3
- St. Louis’ Worker Residency Requirement Heads To November Ballot
St. Louis: Proposition D
City voters in November will decide whether to implement a nonpartisan election system. If Proposition D passes, St. Louis will overhaul its primary process so that voters could choose any and all candidates they approve of for a given office. Then, in the general election, the top two vote-getters for that office would compete in a runoff.
- Proposition D Seeks To Remake St. Louis Elections
- Pro & Con: Prop D Would Transform St. Louis Politics. The Question Is How
- St. Louis on the Air: How Prop D Would Change St. Louis Municipal Elections
St. Louis: Proposition R
More money will go toward early childhood education and services if St. Louis voters approve a 6-cent property tax rate increase. The 6 cents translates to $22.80 more in property taxes for a home worth $200,000. It would raise an estimated $2.3 million annually to go toward the St. Louis Mental Health Board’s Community Children’s Services Fund.
- Prop R Seeks To Increase Taxes To Support St. Louis Early Childhood Education
- St. Louis on the Air: Prop R Would Increase Property Taxes To Fund Early Childhood Education
- St. Louis Voters To Decide Whether To Increase Property Taxes For Early Childhood Ed
Answering your ballot and election questions:
I am confused about Proposition T in St. Louis. What would it do?
The ballot wording for Proposition T confused some city voters so much that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board recommended voting against it for the “ridiculous phrasing” alone. Proposition T would update the tax code to add fiber network providers to the telecommunications category, which would change how they’re taxed. Right now, fiber networks pay an annual fee of $2.20 per linear foot of fiber; If Prop T passes, fiber networks will pay a 7.5% gross-receipts tax. Supporters of the proposition hope it will incentivize fiber network providers to expand services here. There is no organized opposition to Prop T, but detractors say the tax break would allow companies to pass the cost off to customers.
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