The city of St. Louis, Missouri, will hold a nonpartisan top-two primary election for mayor on March 2, 2021. The filing deadline for this election was January 4, 2021.
Four candidates filed to run for the open seat: 2017 mayoral candidate Andrew Jones, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Aldermen President Lewis Reed, and Alderwoman Cara Spencer.
Candidates of all political affiliations will run in the primary election without partisan labels. Andrew Jones ran as a Republican candidate in 2017 and Tishaura Jones, Reed, and Spencer have previously run for office as Democrats.
Voters may choose any number of candidates to vote for and the two candidates that receive the most votes will advance to the general election. This method of voting is called approval voting. This is the first election cycle in the city using this primary election method following the approval of Proposition D on November 3, 2020.
Incumbent Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) announced on Nov. 18, 2020, that she would not seek re-election. Krewson became the city’s first female mayor after winning election on April 4, 2017, with more than 67 percent of the vote.
The last 10 mayors of St. Louis have all been Democrats. The last time a Republican held the mayor’s office was Aloys Kaufmann, who was mayor from 1943 to 1949.
Election officials have scheduled a special election for the District 45 seat in the Missouri House of Representatives for Apr. 6, 2021. The seat became vacant after Kip Kendrick (D) resigned on Jan. 6. There is no primary, and the filing deadline is on Jan. 27.
Missouri Amendment 3 was approved with a margin of 51% to 49%. Amendment 3 eliminated the nonpartisan state demographer created by Amendment 1 (2018); returned the state to the use of bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor for legislative redistricting; altered the criteria used to draw district maps; and changed limits on state senate campaign finance and lobbyists’ gifts.
Support and opposition campaigns surrounding Amendment 3 reported $7.9 million in combined contributions and $7.8 million in expenditures.
There were two committees registered in support of Amendment 3: Fair Missouri and Missouri Farm Bureau Fund for Real Representation. Together, they raised over $308,000. The top donors that contributed over $10,000 were the Republican State Committee ($200,000) and Missouri Alliance for Freedom ($41,000).
In addition to the committees formed to campaign in support of Amendment 3, six other political action committees made a combined $36,977.91 in independent expenditures supporting the measure. They are listed below:
Missouri Right to Life PAC: $2,325.26
Republicans of Pike County: $131.66
Missouri Farm Bureau Federation State PAC: $9,961.50
Don’t Tread on MO PAC: $18,758.00
Missouri Federation of College Republicans: $325.00
Northwest Missouri Conservatives PAC: $5,476.49
Clean Missouri, the sponsor of the 2018 amendment, registered in opposition to Amendment 3. It reported $7.5 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee were the National Education Association ($1.5 million), Action Now Initiative ($1.4 million), North Fund ($1.2 million), Open Society ($500,000), and Strategic Victory Fund ($500,000).
Campaigns supporting and opposing the 2018 amendment, which Amendment 3 reversed, reported nearly $6 million in contributions. In 2018, Clean Missouri received $4.7 million in contributions. The Action Now Initiative and the National Education Association were the top two donors to Clean Missouri in 2018 as well.
As of November 16, committees registered to support or oppose 2020 statewide measures reported a combined total of $1.19 billion in contributions and $994.1 million in expenditures so far.
The following five states have the most ballot measure campaign contributions reported so far:
Incumbent Gov. Mike Parson (R) defeated Nicole Galloway (D), Jerome H. Bauer (G), and Rik Combs (L) in the general election for governor of Missouri.
Parson, formerly lieutenant governor, became governor when Eric Greitens (R) resigned in 2018. Heading into the 2020 election, Galloway, the state auditor, was the only Democrat to hold statewide elected office.
Missouri has been a Republican trifecta since 2017, meaning Republicans hold the governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature.
The outcomes of the 2020 election cycle in Missouri stand to influence the state’s redistricting process following the 2020 census. Congressional district lines are drawn by the state legislature and subject to veto by the governor.
Missouri was one of 11 states electing a governor this year. This includes seven states with Republican governors and four with Democratic governors. In 2016, Missouri was one of three governorships to change partisan control from Democratic to Republican along with New Hampshire and Vermont.
In 2020, Ballotpedia has identified two elections where the results have been voided and a redo election scheduled in their place: a city council election in Paterson, New Jersey, and a sheriff election in Iron County, Missouri.
A redo election, also known as a revote or special election remedy, is the process of voiding election results and holding a new election. The specific reasons for calling a redo election vary, but might include deliberate efforts to obscure the results such as electoral fraud or mistakes like a broken voting machine.
Typically, states or courts call a redo election only after an interested party—normally a candidate, voter, or election official—contests the election results. While most states have provisions describing how to handle contested elections, these provisions do not normally specify what to do if fraud or mistakes occur.
Most redo elections, like the two described below, take place at the municipal or county level. The most recent redo election for a federal office took place in 2019 in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. The last federal redo election before that was in 1974.
Paterson, N.J., city council election
Five candidates—incumbent councilman William McKoy, Chauncey Brown, Sharrieff Bugg, Alex Mendez, and Robyn Spencer—ran in the May 12 city council election for the 3rd Ward in Paterson, New Jersey. Initial results showed Mendez defeating McKoy with 1,595 votes to McKoy’s 1,350, a 245 vote margin. A recount narrowed the margin to 240 votes. Election officials conducted the election entirely by-mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 14, McKoy contested the election results alleging absentee/mail-in electoral fraud in the form of ballots submitted on behalf of voters who later alleged they never received absentee/mail-in ballots. During the May 12 election, election officials rejected 24% of absentee/mail-in ballots in the 3rd Ward compared to 10% s.
On Aug. 16, Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela voided the May 12 election and ordered a redo election for Nov. 3, 2020.
Iron County, Mo., sheriff election
Incumbent Roger Medley, Ryan Burkett, Brian Matthiesen, Ben Starnes, and James Womble participated in the Aug. 4 Republican primary for sheriff in Iron County, Missouri. Burkett defeated Medley by 73 votes.
Medley contested the election, alleging the usage of incorrect ballots, a voting machine missing part of its tally tape, and violations of state law such as the mother-in-law of one candidate working as an election judge.
On Aug. 27, Iron County Circuit Judge Kelly Parker voided the election results and set a redo primary election for Sept. 22. Burkett defeated Medley in the redo primary election receiving 42% of the vote to Medley’s 27%.
On November 3, Missouri voters will decide on Amendment 1 and Amendment 3. Amendment 1 proposes limiting state executives to two terms. Amendment 3 would repeal provisions of a 2018 redistricting initiative and reinstate—with certain changes—a political redistricting commission. Missouri Amendment 2 of 2020, a Medicaid expansion initiative, was put on the ballot for the August primary election.
Amendment 1 would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general to two terms of office in a lifetime. Missouri approved a ballot measure that enacted the same term limits for the governor in 1965 with 72.96% of the vote. Currently, Missouri is one of eight states to limit the governor to two terms in a lifetime. Thirty-six states have some type of term limit on the office of governor, and 14 states have no limit.
The following is a breakdown of the number of states with no term limits for state executive offices:
23 states do not limit the terms of lieutenant governors;
31 states do not limit the terms of secretaries of state;
33 states do not limit the terms of attorneys general;
13 states do not limit the terms of state treasurer; and
17 states do not limit the terms of state auditors (or equivalent positions).
The Missouri Legislature referred Amendment 1 to the ballot. The Senate approved it 31 to three. The House approved it 114 to 32. Missouri State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (R), the sponsor of the measure, said, “The voters of Missouri have made it clear they emphatically support term limits. This measure will bring consistency to our term limits for all state officials and prevent them from becoming career politicians.”
The legislature also referred Amendment 3 to the ballot. The state Senate passed Amendment 3 in a vote of 22 to nine. All but one of the 23 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the amendment. All eight Democrats voted against it. The state House passed Amendment 3 in a vote of 98 to 56 with eight absent.
Amendment 3 would return the state to the use of bipartisan commissions—one for the Senate and one for the House—to draw district maps. The commissions would each have 20 members, rather than 18 and 10, respectively. Commissioners would be appointed by the governor from nominees provided by committees of the two largest political parties.
Amendment 3 would also allow the use of citizen voting-age population instead of total population for the census and redistricting process.
Amendment 3 would also eliminate the nonpartisan state demographer, which was created by the approval of Amendment 1 (2018), a citizen initiative referred to by supporters as “Clean Missouri.” Amendment 1 was approved with 62.02% of the vote.
In addition to changing the redistricting process, Amendment 1 added partisan fairness and competitiveness to the criteria used to draw district lines. Amendment 3 would require that equal population, voter rights abridgment, contiguous districts, and simple shapes are given higher priority than partisan fairness and competitiveness. It would also increase the percentage of wasted votes allowed in the calculation of minimum partisan fairness.
Amendment 1 (2018) required legislators and legislative employees to wait two years after the conclusion of the legislative session in which the legislator or employee served to become a paid lobbyist and prohibited legislators and legislative employees from accepting gifts from paid lobbyists in excess of $5. Amendment 3 would change this amount to $0.
Amendment 3 would also lower the campaign contribution limit for state Senate campaigns from $2,500, which was set by Amendment 1, to $2,400.
State Senator Dan Hegeman (R), the sponsor of the amendment, said, “It is my great concern that our communities will find their voices diminished in Jefferson City (in the state Legislature), because of the liberal think tank ideas contained in the criteria of Amendment 1, passed in 2018.”
The campaign in support of Amendment 3 is sponsored by Fair Missouri, which has reported $246,669 in contributions.
Clean Missouri is registered in opposition to the measure and reported $4.1 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee were the National Education Association ($1.5 million), the North Fund ($1.2 million), and the Action Now Initiative ($1.1 million).
In a letter to the state auditor, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) said, “[Amendment 3] would have a significant fiscal impact on local governments and small businesses in Missouri if the population standard for state legislative maps is changed from using total population to a citizen voting-age population or eligible voter standard. … We should expect a significant impact on Missouri’s small businesses, the local economy, local sales taxes, local lodging taxes, and state income taxes if maps are drawn in a discriminatory way that disproportionately impacts Missourians of color.”
Missouri modified its absentee/mail-in voting procedures for the November 3 election to allow any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot (subject to a notarization requirement) in the general election. Requests to vote absentee must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 21. Absentee ballots must be received by election authorities by 7:00 p.m. on November 3. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on election day.
On August 31, a panel for the Missouri Court of Appeals agreed with a Cole County Circuit Court judge that “certain aspects of the official summary statement are unfair or insufficient and require revision,” but the panel said its draft of the ballot title had “more limited revisions than those ordered by the circuit court.”
The lower court had ruled on August 17 in favor of a group of petition circulators for Clean Missouri, the campaign that sponsored Missouri Amendment 1 (2018), and rewrote the ballot title originally drafted by the state legislature. The lawsuit argued that the ballot title of Amendment 3 was misleading because it did not mention the elimination of the nonpartisan demographer, which was the office established by Amendment 1 (2018) to conduct legislative redistricting in the state. Judge Alok Ahuja, who wrote the opinion on behalf of the appellate court panel, said, “We believe that voters need to be informed that they are being asked to reconsider, and substantially modify, a measure which they only recently approved.” The attorney general’s office said the state would appeal the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The original ballot title written by the state legislature read:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
Ban all lobbyist gifts to legislators and their employees;
Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits; and
Create citizen-led independent bipartisan commissions to draw state legislative districts based on one person, one vote, minority voter protection, compactness, competitiveness, fairness and other criteria?”
The second title written by a Cole County Circuit Court judge read:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
Repeal rules for drawing state legislative districts approved by voters in November 2018 and replace them with rules proposed by the legislature;
Lower the campaign contribution limit for senate candidates by $100; and
Lower legislative gift limits from $5 to $0, with exemptions for some lobbyists?”
The third title written by the Missouri Court of Appeals reads:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their employees;
Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits;
Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018 by: (i) transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the Nonpartisan State Demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; (ii) modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.”
Amendment 3 would return to the use of bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor for legislative redistricting and eliminate the nonpartisan state demographer, which was created by the approval of Amendment 1 (2018). The bipartisan commissions would be renamed the House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission and the Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission and consist of 20 members each. The amendment would also change the criteria used to draw district maps, the threshold of lobbyists’ gifts, and the campaign contribution limit for state senate campaigns.
Missouri Amendment 3 was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) on January 8, 2020. On February 10, the state Senate passed SJR 38 in a vote of 22-9. Of the 23 Republicans in the Senate, 22 voted in favor of SJR 38, one voted against it. All eight Democrats voted against it. On May 13, the state House passed SJR 38 in a vote of 98-56 with eight absent.
On August 17, 2020, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Patricia S. Joyce ruled against the ballot title drafted by the Missouri General Assembly for Amendment 3, the Redistricting Process and Criteria, Lobbying, and Campaign Finance Amendment. The lawsuit against the ballot title was filed by petition circulators for Clean Missouri, the campaign that sponsored Missouri Amendment 1 (2018). The lawsuit argued that the ballot title of Amendment 3 was misleading because it did not mention the elimination of the nonpartisan demographer, which was the office established by Amendment 1 to conduct legislative redistricting in the state. Missouri Amendment 1 (2018) was approved with 62% of the vote. Besides establishing the nonpartisan demographer, the amendment also prohibited the state legislature from passing laws allowing for unlimited campaign contributions to candidates for the state legislature and set campaign contribution limits for legislative candidates and candidate committees.
In Joyce’s ruling, she said, “While [Amendment 3] proposes several other changes to Article Ill of the Constitution, all of them pale in comparison to the scope and magnitude of undoing a recent voter mandate to change Missouri’s legislative redistricting rules. The ‘central purpose’ or ‘primary objective’ of [Amendment 3] is to effectively repeal Amendment 1. Accordingly, the summary statement must alert voters to that change in some fashion. Instead, the General Assembly’s statement does not mention the change at all. It is insufficient, unfair, and must be rewritten.” State officials requested an appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals.
The original ballot title read:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
• Ban all lobbyist gifts to legislators and their employees;
• Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits; and
• Create citizen-led independent bipartisan commissions to draw state legislative districts based on one person, one vote, minority voter protection, compactness, competitiveness, fairness and other criteria?”
The new title drafted by Judge Joyce reads:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
• Repeal rules for drawing state legislative districts approved by voters in November 2018 and replace them with rules proposed by the legislature;
• Lower the campaign contribution limit for senate candidates by $100; and
• Lower legislative gift limits from $5 to $0, with exemptions for some lobbyists?”
Missouri Amendment 3 was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 38 (SJR 38) on January 8, 2020. On February 10, the state Senate passed SJR 38 in a vote of 22-9. Of the 23 Republicans in the Senate, 22 voted in favor of SJR 38, one voted against it. All eight Democrats voted against it. On May 13, the state House passed SJR 38 in a vote of 98-56 with eight absent. House Republicans voted 97-16 for SJR 38, and House Democrats voted 1-40.
Fair Missouri is leading the campaign in support of Amendment 3. According to the last campaign finance reports submitted on June 30, the campaign had raised over $246,000. Clean Missouri is registered in opposition to the amendment and has raised $1.3 million. In 2018, Clean Missouri and an allied committee raised $5.63 million.
Missouri Senator Dan Hegeman (R), the sponsor of the amendment in the legislature, said, “This would give the voters another opportunity to weigh in on this monumental change that could have ramifications for years, if not generations.”
In November, Missouri voters will also be deciding Amendment 1, the State Executive Term Limits Amendment, which would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general, along with the governor and state treasurer, to two terms of office.
Between 1996 and 2018, an average of seven measures appeared on the ballot in Missouri during even-numbered election years. A total of 82 measures appeared on statewide ballots during that period with 63% approved.
Cori Bush defeated incumbent William Lacy Clay and Katherine Bruckner in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary. Bush received 49% of the vote to Clay’s 46%. Clay is one of seven incumbent representatives who have lost in primaries in 2020.
Bush challenged Clay in the district’s 2018 primary, which Clay won with 57% of the vote to Bush’s 37%. Clay was first elected in 2000. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed his re-election bid.
Bush received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for New York’s 16th District who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in the district’s June 23 Democratic primary.
Voters in Platte County, Missouri, approved two sales tax renewal questions on Tuesday. The final unofficial election report by the county showed Question 1 receiving 75.82% of the vote, and Question 2 receiving 60.81% of the vote. Question 1 authorizes the county to renew for 10 years a 0.25% sales tax to fund parks and stormwater control. Question 2 authorizes the county to renew for 10 years a 0.25% sales tax to fund law enforcement.
Voters in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District within Jackson County approved a $30 million bond issue by 82% to 18% according to unofficial election results. The bond issue will not increase the district’s debt service property tax levy. It will be maintained at the existing rate of $1,100 per $100,000 of assessed property value.
Missouri voters also approved a statewide initiative, Amendment 2, that expands Medicaid to adults between the ages of 19 and 65 whose income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level under the Affordable Care Act. Amendment 2 was approved with 53% of the vote.