(Photo by Shannon Cay)

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Looking for April 4, 2023 Voting Guide?

If you are looking for the Voting Guide to April 4, 2023 elections, click here

The campaigns are in the final days and now it is up to you, the voters, to choose your representatives for county, state and national offices — and to decide ballot issues ranging from a zoning controversy in Springfield to whether to make recreational marijuana legal in Missouri.

For the past several weeks, the Springfield Daily Citizen staff has been bringing you in-depth coverage of the competitive races on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Now, as a public service, we are opening up free access — for both subscribers and nonsubscribers — to all of our election coverage, thanks to support from our partner Great Southern Bank.

What follows is our Springfield MO Voting Guide, offering a quick recap of the offices and ballot measures facing voters. Follow the links for free access to our coverage. If the link goes to coverage from other media, we will note if a subscription is required.

Election day basics: when, how, where to vote (click to expand)

When is the election?

Election Day is Nov. 8. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

How do I register to vote or check my registration?

  • The registration deadline to vote on Nov. 8 has already passed — it was Oct. 12.
  • Check this website to confirm the status of your registration.

Where do I vote?

You can find a searchable map with a list of polling locations by scrolling down on this Voting Information page from the Greene County Clerk’s office.

What kind of identification do I need in order to vote?

Unless a court intervenes prior to election day, you will be required to provide some type of valid government-issued photo ID (see examples) in order to vote on Nov. 8. Examples include: a non-expired Missouri drivers license, or obtain a free non-drivers license issued by the state; a U.S. passport; or a military photo ID.

Can I vote absentee?

This year, a special two-week window was created to allow for “no-excuse” absentee voting is available through Nov. 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Greene County Elections Center, located at 1126 N. Boonville Ave. Get details here.

How do I learn about the offices up for election and the candidates?

Step 1. You need to determine the districts in which you live.

You can use this state website to enter your address, then look for “View My Districts” and click on that to find the list of all the jurisdictions that apply to your address.

Step 2. Once you know your districts, you can learn about the candidates at the links provided below — and read Daily Citizen coverage by clicking on the related list of headlines.

U.S. Senate: Who will replace Roy Blunt?

In the campaign to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, the top candidates are Republican Eric Schmitt, the current Missouri attorney general, and Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, a nurse and daughter of August (Gussie) Anheuser Busch Jr., who grew the Anheuser-Busch companies into the largest brewery in the world.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and Trudy Busch Valentine, a Democrat candidate. (Photos provided)

Also on the ballot are: Libertarian Party candidate Jonathan Dine, a fitness trainer and perennial candidate for the Senate; and Constitution Party candidate Paul Venable, an information technology professional.

Get to know the candidates in this edition of our Senate Campaign Digest.

Other statewide contested elections

Read the details on all statewide ballot measures on the Secretary of State website

Amendment 1: Investing state money

  • A Yes vote would give the state treasurer more freedom to invest money in municipal securities and “other reasonable and prudent financial instruments and securities” so that the state can earn a larger return.
  • A No vote limits investments to banks and government securities as allowed under current law.

Note: there is no Amendment 2.

Amendment 3: Marijuana legalization

The outside of Flora Farms building is lined with signs that say “Vote Yes on 3.” (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)
  • A Yes vote would approve a detailed amendment, making it legal for people 21 and over to buy and use marijuana, and it would create a state program to regulate who can get licenses to grow and sell recreational marijuana. The state would tax sales at 6 percent, with net proceeds to a Veterans, Health and Community Reinvestment Fund. The amendment also would expunge the criminal records of people with previous marijuana-related charges, and set up a system for people in jail on marijuana charges to petition for their release.
  • A No vote means marijuana continues to be illegal, except for medicinal use.

Read our full preview story on this issue.

Proponents gathered more than 200,000 signatures to put the amendment on the statewide ballot, building on the 2018 amendment that legalized medical cannabis sales and cultivation.

Multiple opposition groups have formed. Some are against recreational marijuana altogether, while some have other concerns, such as the length, the licensing process, the expungement language, and the fact it’s a constitutional amendment, which, if it passed, would make it very difficult to modify in the future. Even some proponents acknowledge legalizing marijuana through a 38-page amendment to Missouri’s constitution is not ideal, but say inaction by the legislature forced their hand. 

Amendment 4: Kansas City police funding

  • A Yes vote would require the city of Kansas City to follow a law forcing it to spend a minimum of 25 percent of the city’s revenue on the city police department. Estimates are that would cost the city roughly $38 million more per year. While this only applies to Kansas City, the Amendment is up for a statewide vote. According to this Missouri Independent story, there’s only one police department in Missouri, and possibly in the country, that is controlled by the state and not its local city government officials — and that’s the Kansas City Police Department.
  • A No vote allows the city discretion to spend as little as 20 percent of its revenues on city police.

Amendment 5: New Department of the National Guard

  • A Yes vote would create a new Department of the National Guard and require its leader be a member of the governor’s appointed cabinet. Advocates say this will improve communication. See story from St. Joseph News-Press.
  • A No vote means the Missouri National Guard remains part of the Department of Public Safety, whose top official is appointed by the governor.

State Constitutional Convention

Every 20 years, Missouri asks voters whether to hold a constitutional convention to amend and update the state’s constitution. Voters have not approved such a move since 1942.

  • A Yes vote means delegates would be elected and would gather to propose changes to the state’s constitution. Any proposed changes would have to be approved by voters in a statewide special election.
  • A No vote opposes a statewide convention, and the issue returns to voters again in 20 years.

State auditor

The Missouri state auditor’s office is an independent watchdog agency designed “to ensure the proper use of public funds and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Missouri government.” Candidates include:

  • Republican Scott Fitzpatrick, who is currently state treasurer
  • Democrat Alan Green, a former St. Louis County state representative
  • Libertarian John Hartwig, an accountant

Here is a preview (subscription required) from Galen Bacharier at the Springfield News-Leader.

U.S. Congress (Southwest Missouri)

Eric Burlison
Kevin Craig
Kristen Radaker Sheafer

U.S. Rep. Billy Long chose to run (unsuccessfully) for U.S. Senate, leaving his 7th District seat in Congress open for the first time in 12 years. State Sen. Eric Burlison is the Republican candidate, having survived a contentious primary. His opponents are Democrat Kristen Radaker Sheafer and perennial candidate Libertarian Kevin Craig.

Question 1: Springfield referendum on Galloway

In an unprecedented referendum, voters from across the city have the power to decide if a piece of property should be rezoned to accommodate new development. Ballot Question 1 puts 4.2 acres of land in the 3500 block of South Lone Pine Avenue up for referendum zoning.

  • A Yes vote allows the land’s zoning to change to a planned development zone, clearing the way for construction of a mixed use project that will include retail and office spaces and about 100 apartments.
  • A No vote is a vote to keep the land zoned as it is, a mix of single-family residential, limited business and general retail lots.

Read our in-depth report here.

State Senate (Greene County districts)

20th District

Curtis Trent, current representative for House District 133, defeated a Republican challenger in the primary and is unopposed for the 20th Senate District seat. 

30th District

Incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Hough is seeking reelection Nov. 8, while local attorney Raymond Lampert campaigns as the Democrat alternative.

Hough was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2010 and served three terms until 2016. Hough then served two years as a Greene County Commissioner, and, in 2018, he was elected to the state Senate, serving a four-year term. 

Republican State Sen. Lincoln Hough, left, is being challenged by Democrat Raymond Lampert in the Nov. 8 election for state Senate District 30.

Read the full preview story here.

State House (Greene County districts)

Read our overview story on redistricting of House districts in Greene County, and how Democrats hope a field of five female candidates will help them in the Nov. 8 elections.

District 132

Republican Stephanos Freeman is challenging Democrat incumbent Rep. Crystal Quade in the race for House District 132. (Photos: Jack McGee and Shannon Cay Bowers)

Democrat Rep. Crystal Quade, first elected in 2016, is running her fourth campaign in House District 132, and faces Republican Stephanos Freeman. Quade is the minority leader for Democrats in the House and a former Director of Chapter Services for Springfield-based nonprofit Care to Learn. Freeman is unemployed but previously worked for Burrell Behavioral Health and mental disabilities services company Alternative Opportunities. Read full preview here.

District 133

With Rep. Curtis Trent moving up to be a state Senator, District 133 is an open seat. Democrat Amy Blansit faces Republican Melanie Stinnett. Blansit is the founder, chairwoman and CEO of the Drew Lewis Foundation, and is also a faculty member at Missouri State University (MSU) in the Kinesiology Department. Stinnett opened her own business, Theracare, in 2014, to provide speech, occupational, physical and music therapy.

Democrat Amy Blansit, left, and Republican Melanie Stinnett. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

In May of this year, Stinnett sold Theracare to The Arc of the Ozarks, a disability services organization, where she works as the vice president of therapy services. Read full preview story here.

District 134

Samantha Deaton (left) and Alex Riley (right) are candidates for House District 134 representative. (Photo credits: Left, Samantha Deaton; right, Jym Wilson)

First-term incumbent Republican Rep. Alex Riley is seeking reelection, and Democrat Samantha Deaton is taking her shot in Springfield’s arguably most Republican district. Riley, a Springfield native, has been practicing law in Springfield since 2016. Deaton, who grew up in the Springfield area, is a Battlefield council member, has opened the bakery Caked n’ Baked and worked in the child care industry. Read full preview here.

District 135

First-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Betsy Fogle is pursuing another two years in the Missouri House, but the Republican candidate AJ Exner has other plans. Fogle is a Springfield native who worked six years at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center prior to election. Exner is an Arkansas native who came to Missouri for college. He has worked as a client relations manager for Dynamic DNA Labs. Read the full preview story here.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Betsy Fogle, left, with Republican opponent AJ Exner. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

District 136

Republican Rep. Craig Fishel is being challenged by Democrat Stephanie Hein in a reshaped House District 136.

Republican Rep. Craig Fishel is seeking his third term in the Missouri legislature’s lower chamber, but Democrat Stephanie Hein bears the burden of trying to flip a Republican stronghold. Fishel is a former Springfield City Council member and has owned and operated Fishel Pools for more than 40 years. Hein heads the Missouri State University Department of Hospitality Leadership. Read full preview story here.

Uncontested races: Districts 130, 131 and 137

  • District 130: State Rep. Bishop Davidson is running unopposed.
  • District 131: State Rep. Bill Owen is running unopposed.
  • District 137: Darin Chappell, a former political science professor at Missouri State University and city administrator for Chillicothe, Bolivar and Seymour, won a primary election and is unopposed in the general election.

Greene County offices

From left, Republican incumbent Cheryl Dawson-Spaulding and Democratic challenger Melissa Miller are running for Greene County recorder of deeds in the November 2022 general election. (Photos submitted by candidates)

Of seven local elections for Greene County voters to weigh in November, only the race for recorder of deeds is contested.

Republican incumbent Cheryl Dawson-Spaulding faces Democratic challenger Melissa Miller in a quiet race with minimal campaigning on both sides. The recorder of deeds maintains records related to property, and also handles marriage licenses. Read story here.

All other county officials on the ballot are running unopposed — and all are Republicans, including newcomer Bryan Feemster who is the only candidate for Circuit Court Clerk. (Current Circuit Clerk Tom Barr gave up the office to unsuccessfully run for State House District 137.)

Other Greene County officials who are unopposed (click to review list)
  • Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon was elected in 2018. He is going for a second term.
  • Cindy Stein has been the Greene County auditor since her first election in 1994. 
  • Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson was first elected to be Greene County’s lead criminal prosecutor in 2010, and is seeking a fourth term in office.
  • Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller was elected in 2014, and seeks a third term in office.
  • Allen Icet was appointed Greene County Collector of Revenue March 1, 2021. Icet is making his first run at a full, four-year term.

Judicial retention votes: Voters will be asked to approve retention votes for several judges. All were evaluated this year by the Missouri Judicial Performance Review Committee on whether they “substantially meet overall judicial performance standards,” and all of them did. In Greene County, voters will also be casting their ballots on the retention of three Associate Circuit Court judges:

  • Judge Mark Powell, appointed in 2000 and elected to office by voters in 2000, 2002 and 2006; then retained 2010, 2014 and 2018.
  • Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto, appointed in 2015, retained in 2018.
  • Judge Todd Myers, appointed in 2020 and facing his first retention vote.

Also, in southwest Missouri, voters will be asked whether to retain:

  • Missouri Supreme Court Justices Zel Fischer and Robin Ransom.
  • Southern District Missouri Court of Appeals Judges Don Burrell and Jack Goodman.

David Stoeffler

David Stoeffler is the chief executive officer of the Springfield Daily Citizen. He has more than 40 years experience in the news business, having been a reporter, editor and news executive in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona and Missouri. You may email him at dstoeffler@sgfcitizen.org or call 417-837-3664. More by David Stoeffler