ST. LOUIS – History will be made in Tuesday’s municipal primary election in St. Louis City.
For the first time ever, city voters will begin the process for choosing board of aldermen members under a 14-ward makeup.
The Central Baptist Church on Washington Avenue is one of the polling places where voters can start casting ballots at 6:00 a.m. Many will be watching how this process plays out to see how the new board of aldermen will help shape policy and politics in the region
City voters will cast ballots Tuesday for candidates in half as many wards as in the past. The number of city wards has been reduced from 28 to 14.
A total of 40 candidates are on the ballot Tuesday in the different wards. Only two people are running unopposed; that is Board of Alderman President Megan Green and Incumbent Shane Cohn, who will represent the new ward three.
City voters will again use what’s called ‘approval-style voting.’ That means voters can cast ballots for as many people as they want to, and the top two vote getters in each ward race will move on to the general election on April 4.
There are a lot of contested races in this new ward set up. Seven wards have three people running in them, one has five candidates, and another ward has four people squaring off.
Four of the new wards have two people running in them. There are three races where two incumbents old ward system are now pitted against each other for one of the new ward seats. One race has three incumbents battling it out to remain an alderman.
FOX 2 spoke with Gary Stoff, the Republican Director of Elections in the city, as well as a voter at a polling place.
Take a listen to what they both told us about this election, starting with lifelong St. Louisan and voter Elmira Warrren.
“I wanted to vote because I wanted to make sure that at least I had some say so in the person that might get elected in my area,” Warren shared. “I was concerned about that. -and I researched to see who had voted or who knew the area pretty much for the people because that’s pretty much going to be a great factor in how the money is distributed. If you know the people, then you know what the needs are.”
Stoff added, “Everything is going to be new. Every ward is going to have a different aldermanic person because all the existing wards have been changed – and so in these elections today and on April the 4th, you have in some instances incumbent aldermanic people running against each other because their wards have gone away.”
Board of aldermen members approved the new 14 ward set up in December 2021. Voters originally passed a measure cutting the number of wards and aldermen in half back in 2012 to increase efficiency and save money in city government.
Aldermanic members had until the end of 2021 to get the new ward maps drawn up. City election officials told FOX 2 that they are projecting only a 20% turnout for Tuesday’s primary election.
The polls stay open until 7:00 p.m.