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Want to run for school board or city council? Missouri’s new filing deadline is in December

A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church on March 10, 2020.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis in 2020.

Potential candidates for city council and school boards in Missouri take note: The period to file to run for office next year is different.

Thanks to a recently enacted law overhauling local governmental guidelines, the filing period for municipal elections goes from Dec. 7 to Dec. 28. That’s different from other years, when the filing period for those types of elections stretched into January.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wants to get the word out about the change.

“We need more people involved in our municipal elections,” Ashcroft said. “I think anytime we can get more people running and voting in our elections and participating in any way, we’re better off.”

Ashcroft is recommending that candidates file early in December, since the end of the period coincides with the holiday season.

“I’m a little bit concerned with it ending on the 28th. People may have just got done with Christmas. They’re thinking about that,” Ashcroft said. “And now they’re thinking about New Year’s Eve. And I don’t want someone to miss the opportunity to file for office because the holidays got in the way.”

Local elections could have a greater focus next year, especially since education policy has taken on a bigger role lately in political discourse. Some school board meetings in the St. Louis region and nationwide have seen fierce debates over COVID-19 protocols and diversity curriculum.

Ashcroft said it would be a “fabulous thing” if more people ran for school board positions, regardless of where on the political spectrum the candidates fall.

“I think it’s atrocious that we have municipal elections and we only have 7 to 12% turnout,” Ashcroft said. “School board elections may be the most important election we ever get to participate in, because of how much it affects people’s lives.”

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum 

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.