Election 2018: Understanding your ballot
JEFFERSON CITY —
Missouri voters will have potentially dozens of races to decide when they receive their ballots on Tuesday.
The U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill has attracted national attention, with Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley in a virtual tie with McCaskill in the most recent polls. Joining them on the ballot are Libertarian Japheth Campbell, Green Party candidate Jo Crain and independent Craig O'Dear.
The state auditor's race also features five candidates. Democrat Nicole Galloway, who was appointed to the position in early 2015 following the death of Republican Tom Schweich, is seeking a four-year term of her own. Her challengers are Republican Saundra McDowell, Libertarian Sean O'Toole, Green Party candidate Don Fitz and Constitution Party candidate Jacob Luetkemeyer. The state auditor's office is the only statewide executive office that is decided during midterms.
Missouri's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for grabs, as they are every two years. Mid-Missouri primarily falls in the 3rd and 4th U.S. House districts, represented by Republicans Blaine Luetkemeyer and Vicky Hartzler, respectively. Luetkemeyer faces challenges from Democrat Katy Geppert and Libertarian Donald V. Stolle, while Hartzler faces challenges from Democrat Renee Hoagenson and Libertarian Mark Bliss.
Beyond the high-profile races, Missouri voters will have to decide who will represent their views at the state and county levels. All 163 of Missouri's state House seats are on the ballot. Additionally, Missouri's even-numbered state Senate districts have elections this year. For mid-Missouri, this primarily means the 6th and 10th Senate districts. The 6th district seat formerly held by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe covers Cole, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage counties. That race is a three-way contest among Republican Mike Bernskoetter, Democrat Nicole Thompson and Libertarian Steven Wilson. Missouri's 10th district covers Audrain, Callaway, Monroe, Montgomery, Lincoln and Warren counties. Republican Jeannie Riddle is running for a second four-year term and faces a challenge from Democrat Ayanna Shivers.
About half of county offices come up for election during midterms. This year, voters in each county in Missouri will chose their presiding commissioner, county clerk, circuit court clerk, recorder of deeds, prosecuting attorney, county auditor and county collector of revenue.
Voters also will choose judges at every court level. This will entail both partisan and nonpartisan elections. At the circuit court level, judicial elections in mid-Missouri are partisan because no counties in this area have adopted the Nonpartisan Court Plan, according to the Office of the State Courts Administrator. Judicial circuits in this area cover more than one county with the exception of the 19th Circuit, which is confined to Cole County. There also are nonpartisan retention elections for Supreme Court judges W. Brent Powell and Mary Rhodes Russell and for judges on Missouri's Eastern, Western and Southern District Courts of Appeals.
Rounding out Tuesday's ballot are a total of seven statewide ballot issues. In a few cases, voters also will face municipal or district-related ballot issues as well.
The Secretary of State's office said voters will be able to cast a ballot as long as they present some form of ID. Voters who have a non-photo ID will not be asked to sign any affidavits as a result of last month's ruling by a Cole County judge. Voters without any form of ID will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.