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St. Louis Voter Guide: What To Know About The Key Contests On Your 2020 Ballot

David Kovaluk
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St. Louis Public Radio

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 electionday@stlpublicradio.org

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a Democrat, runs for his office for the first time, against Republican Paul Berry III.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Have a question about a particular race? Confused by the new rules on voting? Email us at electionday@stlpublicradio.org, or submit your question in the box below.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

As with Mike Parson here, the candidate positioned on top indicates who the incumbent in the race is for all pairings below.
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio; Bill Greenblatt / UPI /
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As with Mike Parson here, the candidate positioned on top indicates who the incumbent in the race is for all pairings below.
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Evie Hemphill / St. Louis Public Radio; Daniel Zdrodowski /
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St. Louis Public Radio
David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio
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St. Louis Public Radio
David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio
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St. Louis Public Radio