Your ballot: ‘Proposition D’ may change the way St. Louis leaders are elected

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Voting hands and ballot box

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Proposition D may change the way elected officials are chosen by St. Louis voters in the future. If approved it would make elections open and non-partisan for offices like the mayor, comptroller, and alderman.

It would also change the primary election system to one where voters can choose from many candidates. Only the top two choices would face off in a general election.

This would potentially eliminate a candidate’s party from consideration in the voting process and help them focus on issues.

“Too many times we have elected city officials with less than 40% of the vote,” writes League of Women Voters board member Kathleen Farrell. “The people, not special interests should decide who runs our city.”

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Michael Butler, who is also the outgoing chair of the city’s Democratic Central Committee, tells St. Louis Public Radio that the measure removes “the party part” from the municipal election process, in a good way.

“We have what is known as really one of the worst possible systems of election,” he said. “A partisan primary, again with a general partisan election, in a municipal election, doesn’t really allow you to vote on the issues but more on the team that you’re on.”

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Michael Butler

Many elections in St. Louis are decided during the primaries because the Democratic party is so dominant in the city. Many strong candidates who may have been eliminated in the primary would move on to the general election under Proposition D.

Proposition D ballot language:

Shall the City of St. Louis adopt an ordinance to:

  • Establish an open, non-partisan system for elections to the offices of Mayor, Comptroller, President of the Board of Aldermen, and Alderman.
  • Enable voters to choose all the candidates they wish in the open, non-partisan primary
  • Allow the top two candidates to then compete in a runoff general election?

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