Where to go, what to bring and what’s on the ballot in Missouri

Jay Ashcroft discusses Missouri’s new voter ID law

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft discussed how to vote under the new law Tuesday, July 25, 2017, in Kansas City.
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Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft discussed how to vote under the new law Tuesday, July 25, 2017, in Kansas City.

Missouri voters are poised to help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and vote on an array of issues that could transform life in the state.

A court ruling put a dent in the state’s voter ID law and another lawsuit seeks to further chip away at it, but you do still need to bring some form of ID.

On the ballot are the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, a competitive state auditor’s race and a host of ballot initiatives on medical marijuana, the minimum wage and ethics reform.

Here’s what you need to know to vote in Missouri:

If you encounter any problems at the polls, please contact the Star at 816-234-4633 during the morning, or 816-234-4782 in the afternoon or evening. An editor will take your call. Send issues via email to webeditors@kcstar.com. You can also file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Star is also partnering with Electionland, a project run by ProPublica to monitor voting issues. You can share your voting experience with the project by:

Text: Send the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply).

WhatsApp: Send the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 1-850-909-8683.

Facebook Messenger: Go to m.me/electionland

Check your registration

The deadline has already passed to register to vote in Missouri, but to find polling places and sample ballots and other information, visit the Missouri Secretary of State’s website: https://s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterlookup/

Enter your name, address and birthday to make sure you’re registered.

From there, you can go to the office’s “Voter Outreach Portal” to find your polling location, sample ballots and contact information for your local voting authority.

Is your voter registration up-to-date? Even if you voted before, from time to time, states and local election offices purge their voter registration lists. They delete people who have moved or who haven’t voted in a long time.

Poll hours

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day. If you’re in line by the time the polls close at 7 p.m., you still have the right to cast your vote. You don’t have to be done voting by the time the polls close.

Bring some form of ID

You don’t have to have a photo ID to vote.

Missouri voters approved a voter ID law in 2016 that required voters to show a government-issued photo ID or sign a statement saying they don’t have one and show another form of ID, like a voter registration card, university ID, bank statement.

Earlier this month, a judge tossed the sworn statement requirement because the language of the statement was “contradictory and misleading.” Now, voters can show a photo- or non-photo ID at the polls.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office has more information on acceptable forms of ID at https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/howtovote#Forms.

What’s on the ballot

The U.S. Senate race between McCaskill and Hawley is one of the closest-watched in the midterm election cycle. Voters on Tuesday will also decide whether State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, keeps her post in a race against Saundra McDowell, a Republican.

But a slate of ballot initiatives is expected to be the true driver of voter turnout. Here’s a rundown on the issues.

Clean Missouri: Amendment 1, known as Clean Missouri, promises a raft of ethics reforms and a proposal to overhaul the state’s redistricting system. The reforms would eliminate nearly all lobbyist gifts, open legislative records, require a waiting period before legislators and Statehouse staffers can become lobbyists and lower campaign donation limits.

The more controversial section would turn over the state’s redistricting process to a nonpartisan expert. Maps would be reviewed by a citizen commission to ensure partisan competitiveness.

Medical marijuana: Three proposals on the ballot would legalize medical marijuana.

Amendment 2 would legalize medical marijuana for 10 medical conditions by altering the state constitution. It would impose a 4 percent tax on retail marijuana sales and use the funds for health and care services for military veterans.

Amendment 3, backed by Springfield attorney Brad Bradshaw, would legalize medical marijuana taxed at 15 percent. Those funds would be used to conduct research at a new state institute chaired, at least initially, by Bradshaw.

Proposition C would allow for medical marijuana and tax it at 2 percent. Funds would be spent on veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety. Either of the amendments would supersede Proposition C if they passed.

If both amendments were to pass, the one with more votes will be enacted.

Minimum wage: Voters will have the chance to raise the minimum wage through Proposition B. The initiative would increase the minimum wage from its current $7.85 to $8.60 in January. The wage would increase another $0.85 each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023.

Gas tax: A proposal to increase the state’s gas tax from $0.17 to $0.27 per gallon will be on the ballot as Proposition D. The money would go for roads, bridges and law enforcement.

Editorial board endorsements

In the past, this was an opaque exercise. Unsigned endorsement editorials appeared without explanation, and The Kansas City Star editorial board hoped you would heed its advice.

This year, the editorial board wants to bring transparency to its endorsements for the November elections by explaining the process. You can read about how the editorial board makes its endorsements here.

Now, here are The Star’s endorsements: