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In-person absentee voting starts this week in Missouri, and Kansas City area voters can begin casting ballots in races like the U.S. House and Senate, as well as state legislative races and a handful of proposed amendments to the state’s constitution. The Beacon compiled a guide to what’s on your Missouri ballot for the Nov. 8 general election.
Missouri’s August primary election settled many of the state’s most competitive contests, like who would be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate or the 4th Congressional District, but voters will weigh in on other hotly contested propositions, like legalizing recreational weed or allowing the state to increase the funding threshold for the Kansas City Police Department.
Voters can look up their sample ballots on the secretary of state’s website if they did not receive one in the mail. They can also use the site to find their local election authority, and find out where to go to cast ballots in person before Election Day.
Apart from the general election in the 2020 pandemic year, this election will be the first in which voters can vote in-person before Election Day without needing to provide a reason for why they would be unable to turn up at the polls on Election Day itself. The change came as a result of a sweeping elections and voting-related bill that was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson over the summer.
As a result of the new law, voters will need to present a state-issued photo ID when they cast their ballots at the polls. If they do not have one, they can vote on a provisional ballot and have their signature matched by the election authority. Voters who simply forgot their ID can return to the polls with it that same day.
Read more about Missouri’s new voting law.
The Beacon has compiled a list of the headline races that will appear on Nov. 8 ballots across the metro. For races about the Jackson County Legislature, The Beacon is publishing candidate questionnaires in contested seats.
Amendment 1 – State treasurer investment authority
A “yes” vote on this amendment would allow the state treasurer to invest state funds in municipal securities. It would also allow the state legislature to pass laws allowing the treasurer to invest in “other reasonable and prudent financial instruments and securities.”
The state treasurer would be allowed to invest state funds in highly rated securities that have been issued certain ratings by a national rating agency.
Right now, the state treasurer is allowed to invest in federal and agency bonds, time deposits in state banks, repurchase agreements or short-term corporate debt.
The amendment made it onto the ballot after being sponsored in the legislature. It passed on a vote of 156-1.
Amendment 3 – Recreational marijuana
A “yes” vote would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The measure would transition currently operating medical dispensaries and other facilities to recreational dispensaries by granting 80% of licenses to already-licensed facilities. It would also create a microbusiness program for those historically most impacted by the nation’s marijuana laws and expunge records for some marijuana-related offenses.
Amendment 4 – Allow the legislature to require a city to increase funding for a police force
Kansas City is one of few cities in the country that have a budget minimum set by the state legislature. A “yes” vote on Amendment 4 would allow the state legislature to increase the minimum funding floor for the Kansas City Police Department without reimbursement from the state.
The amendment made it onto the ballot as a result of a bill sponsored by state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Parkville Republican up for reelection this year. Mayor Quinton Lucas strongly opposes the measure.
Amendment 5 – Department of the National Guard
A “yes” vote on Amendment 5 would create the Missouri Department of the National Guard as an administrative department within the state’s executive branch. The state’s National Guard commander would be a member of the governor’s cabinet. The measures passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support.
Missouri Constitutional Convention
Missourians are asked every 20 years if they’d like to hold a state constitutional convention, but voters have never voted “yes.” If a majority of Missourians vote “yes,” two delegates who are not current publicly elected office holders would be nominated by voters to represent each state Senate district at the convention. Delegates would have discretion to introduce any measure to amend the constitution, but the changes would only pass if voters approved them.
Current Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt is running against Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, whose parents grew the Anheuser-Busch companies into the world’s largest brewery. The winner will replace retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.
Busch Valentine has focused much of her campaigning around reproductive health care access and Schmitt’s track record as attorney general, while Schmitt is focusing on issues more closely aligned with national Republican campaigns, like parental choice in schools, doubts about elections and crime.
Trudy Busch Valentine
The 4th Congressional District became an open race after current Rep. Vicky Hartzler announced she would not run again to pursue a bid for the U.S. Senate. After a contested GOP primary, former TV anchor Mark Alford went on to become the Republican nominee. He is running against Democrat Jack Truman, who previously ran for this seat in 2016.
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is running for reelection in the deep blue 5th District. Cleaver is facing Jacob Turk, a Republican who has had unsuccessful bids for a number of state and federal offices.
Incumbent Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
Scott Fitzpatrick, the current Missouri treasurer, is running as a Republican for state auditor. He previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives. Former Democratic state Rep. Alan Green of St. Louis County is running on the Democratic ticket and formerly was the director of the Missouri Office of Equal Opportunity. John Hartwig is running for the office as a Libertarian.
Current state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
Former state House Rep. Alan Green
Missouri Supreme Court
In Missouri, a commission made up of three lawyers, three citizens and the Missouri chief justice nominates three candidates for a judicial vacancy. The governor then chooses among the three candidates, and those candidates face retention votes in the years following.
Zel Fischer and Robin Ransom are facing retention votes on the state Supreme Court this year.
Missouri state Senate
In Missouri, half of the state Senate’s seats are up for reelection every two years. Currently, Republicans represent 24 of the 34 state Senate districts.
Senate District 8
In this Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs district, incumbent GOP Sen. Mike Cierpiot is pursuing his last run for office before being term-limited. He previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives. He is running against Democrat Antoine Jennings, a Blue Springs Democrat and nonprofit executive.
Incumbent Sen. Mike Cierpiot
Senate District 34
Incumbent Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer is running for reelection in this Northland district. Democrat Sarah Shorter, an emergency room administrator, is challenging Luetkemeyer from across the aisle.
Incumbent Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer
Missouri State House
In Missouri, state House seats are up for reelection every two years. This year, Democrats are hoping new legislative district lines following the 2020 census may give them an opportunity to cut into the vetoproof Republican supermajority. Currently, Republicans hold 107 of 163 seats in the Missouri state House.
House District 12
In this Northland district, no incumbent is on the ballot. Democrat and political newcomer Jamie Johnson is attempting to flip the seat from red to blue. She is running against Parkville business owner Tom Hutsler in the general election.
House District 14
Incumbent Rep. Ashley Aune is running for reelection in this purple Northland district. Aune is running against businessman Eric Holmes, an Army veteran.
Incumbent Rep. Ashley Aune
House District 15
Democratic incumbent Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern is running for reelection in Gladstone’s 15th state House District. She is facing Republican Adam Richardson and independent Steve West, who was the Republican nominee for this seat in 2020.
Incumbent Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern
House District 34
In this Lee’s Summit area district, Democrat and former Hallmark Cards data manager Kemp Strickler is running against Republican J.C. Crossley, who has run an HVAC business in Lee’s Summit for 33 years.
House District 35
In this east Lee’s Summit district, incumbent Rep. Keri Ingle is pursuing reelection. Ingle, a social worker, is running against Republican businessman John Burrows.
Incumbent Rep. Keri Ingle