St. Louis County council member proposes non-partisan elections


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – There’s a new proposal in St. Louis County for non-partisan elections. Republican council member Tim Fitch made the proposal.

It would list candidates for county offices by name only and not by party. The top two primary winners would then face off in a general election.

“It’s time to move past party divisions,” Fitch said.

The full county council would have to approve the idea by January to get the measure on next April’s ballot. St. Louis County has not had a Republican county executive in more than 30 years.

St. Louis City used this voting method in their mayoral race. The new voting method was approved by voters in the November 2, 2020 election.

Betsy Sinclair, a professor of political science at Washington University, has researched this voting method. She said the systems works well in that voters get more of a voice in the process, but it is also more work for voters.  

“If we don’t have party labels, voters all of the sudden have to do their homework,” said Sinclair.

The top two primary system has not led to greater voter turnout but the research of it has shown that candidates are much more responsive to their constituents and especially constituents from opposing parties.

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