What’s on your Missouri primary ballot this August

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(The Beacon) – Voters will have a chance to weigh in on Kansas City police funding and who makes it onto the November ballot during the Missouri primary election on Aug. 6. 

The deadline to register to vote in the primary is July 10. 

(Here’s how to check if you’re on the voter rolls, register if needed, and vote in Missouri.)

You can think of a primary election as a semifinal round, where members of the same party face off against one another to see who will compete against other parties’ nominees in the general election.  

But in cases where one party is heavily favored to win or is even running unopposed, the primary election could be your best chance to influence who ends up in office. 

Races on the ballot this August include the U.S. senator from Missouri and statewide offices such as governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. 

Nine Republicans, five Democrats, and a Libertarian are running to replace the current Gov. Mike Parson, who is not running for reelection. 

This year, voters will also make the final decision on two constitutional amendments: one raising the minimum funding Kansas City sends to its state-controlled police department and the other exempting childcare facilities from property taxes. 

Here’s what to expect on your Missouri primary election ballot. 

Finding your sample ballot

What appears on your ballot depends on where you live and what you choose. 

Constitutional amendments will appear on every ballot, but you’ll see different candidates depending on what version of the ballot you have. 

Missouri has an open primary system, meaning you are free to ask for any party’s ballot, or a nonpartisan one, whether or not you’re affiliated with a party. But you can only ask for one. 

When you vote, you’ll see the candidates for each race from only the party you’ve selected.

Everyone who selects a party ballot will see some of the same races such as the U.S. Senate and statewide offices like the governor and attorney general. 

Other races, such as the U.S. House, Missouri legislature, and county offices, will vary based on your address. You’ll vote for a candidate to represent your specific district. 

You can find lists of all of the candidates in your county, separated by party, on some local election board websites. That includes Platte CountyCass County and the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners, which covers the parts of Kansas City within Jackson County. 

Other counties, such as Jackson and Clay — and the Missouri Secretary of State website — have a feature where you can look up your specific ballot based on your address or registration. 

Constitutional amendments 

Two Missouri constitutional amendments appear on all ballots this year. 

Amendment 1 would exempt child care providers, outside of the child’s home, from property taxes. Its ballot summary says the amendment is meant to make child care more available. 

Most of its financial impact would be on local governments. The state’s Blind Pension Fund could also lose $400,000. 

Missouri is also redoing a vote about police funding after a judge ruled that part of the ballot summary voters saw in 2022 was misleading. The previous ballot summary said there would be no fiscal impact. In a lawsuit, Kansas City said that wasn’t true. 

Amendment 4 would allow the legislature to increase minimum funding for a state-run police department. 

If approved, it would clear the way for a 2022 law requiring Kansas City — which has the only police department controlled by the state — to spend 25% of its general revenue on police, up from 20% currently required. 

A ballot summary says it would cost Kansas City about $38.7 million per year, although the city has provided that funding voluntarily in the past. 

The legislature is normally not allowed to tell local governments to spend money without providing the funding, so the law needs voter approval through a change to the constitution. 

U.S. Congress

In the race for U.S. senator from Missouri, current Sen. Josh Hawley does not have any Republican opponents. 

Those who select a Libertarian ballot will see only one candidate, W.C. Young. 

Those selecting a Democratic ballot will have four options: 

  • Karla May
  • December Harmon
  • Lucas Kunce
  • Mita Biswas

Voters will also elect U.S. House members from eight different districts in Missouri. 

Statewide offices

Your ballot will include all of the candidates in the party you chose running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer. 

All of the Libertarian candidates are running unopposed within their party. For most races, there are multiple Democratic and Republican candidates. 

Some of the Republican primaries are especially crowded, with nine running for governor and eight for secretary of state. 

Missouri Statehouse races

You’ll see a Missouri House of Representatives race on your ballot. In many cases, there isn’t more than one candidate representing each party, making the primary moot. 

If you live in an odd-numbered Missouri Senate district, you’ll also see a state Senate race on your ballot. About two-thirds of those races have multiple candidates for at least one party. 

County offices

Depending on where you live, you may also see county offices or questions on your ballot. 

For example, Jackson County is electing a prosecuting attorney and a sheriff. 

Platte County is asking voters to approve a bond and a countywide sales tax increase to renovate and expand its jail. 

Cass County is electing associate commissioners, a sheriff, an assessor, a treasurer, and a public administrator. 

Party committeemen and committeewomen for your county or city could also appear on your ballot. 


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Maria Benevento

https://missouriindependent.com/

Maria Benevento is the education reporter at The Kansas City Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member.