Voters nationwide will head to the polls on November 8 in what has been an incredibly contentious election. And while the presidential election has been high profile, voters in the bi-state will have other big decisions to make as well.
In Missouri, voters will elect a new governor, a decision that will likely determine whether Missouri becomes a "right to work" state.
Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is also working to defend his seat against challenger Democrat Jason Kander as Republicans fight to maintain majority control of the Senate.
In addition, voters in St. Louis County will be voting on a proposition that would levy a tax increase to care for the area's aging population.
This guide aims to help you make informed decisions as you head to the polls. After all, it's your democracy.
Are you registered?
The deadline to register to vote for this election has already passed for both Missouri and Illinois, so if you're not already registered, unfortunately it's too late.
Both states offer voter lookup options online, so you can check to see if you're registered and where your polling place is located.
Early voting in Missouri and Illinois
Missouri is one of 16 states that does not permit early voting. If you will not be in your jurisdiction on Election Day, or you have another conflict, you may vote absentee. Here's the form to request an absentee ballot- http://on.mo.gov/2eLnDtx. More information about absentee voting can be found at http://on.mo.gov/2eLnN47.
Voter ID requirements in Missouri and Illinois
Missouri is not currently a strict Voter ID state. (The topic is actually on Nov. 8's ballot. More on that in a bit.) That means you don't necessarily need a government-issued photo ID to vote at the polls. You do however need a form of ID. This could include:
- Driver's license
- Student ID from a school located within the state of Missouri
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Other government document that contains the name and address of the voter
- Driver's license or state ID card issued by another state
If you do not possess any of these forms of identification, you may still cast a ballot if two supervising election judges, one from each major political party, attest they know you.
Illinois does not require ID to vote. That means, if you've voted in Illinois before, you don’t need to provide ID to vote in person.
If you registered to vote in Illinois by mail, are voting for the first time, and didn’t provide your driver’s license number, state ID number, last 4 digits of your Social Security number, or a copy of a current ID or government document that shows your name and address when you registered, you’ll need to provide one of these when you vote in person during early voting or on Election Day.
Missouri and Illinois ballot measures
Should Missourians be required to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls? How much should a pack of cigarettes cost? Should there be a limit to how much people can donate to political candidates? These are some of the questions voters will decide on this November.
Voters in Missouri will vote on five state Constitutional amendments this November, and they can get kind of confusing. We're here to break them down for you.
Missouri Amendment 1 - Keep conservation tax
Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years? The measure continues and does not increase the existing sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent for 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.
This amendment is asking voters to renew a 0.1 percent sales tax that has been in place since 1984. The conservation tax generates about $90 million annually and helps with the upkeep of the state's parks and historic sites.
Missouri Amendment 2 - Campaign contribution limits
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: - establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office, - prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions, - require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions, and - provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment? It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $118,000 annually and have an unknown change in costs for local governmental entities. Any potential impact to revenues for state and local governmental entities is unknown.
This amendment would cap the amount a person could donate to candidates running for the General Assembly, statewide office, or the judiciary at $2,600 per election cycle, as well as capping the amount a person could donate to a political party at $25,000.
Currently, there is no cap on campaign contributions in Missouri. Voters in 1994 enacted campaign contribution limits, but they were wiped out in 2008 by the legislature.
Campaign spending limits would have made a dramatic difference in the funding of this year's Missouri gubernatorial race. An analysis by the Associated Press found that close to $16.5 million of Eric Greitens' funding and $17.8 million of Chris Koster's funding came from checks worth more than $2,600.
Missouri Amendment 3 - Raise Cigarette Tax
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: - increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20, - create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which fee shall increase annually, and - deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund? When cigarette tax increases are fully implemented, estimated additional revenue to state government is $263 million to $374 million annually, with limited estimated implementation costs. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown.
This amendment would raise Missouri's tax on a pack of cigarettes from 17 cents to 77 cents in phases through 2020. The revenue generated would pay for early childhood programs.
Missouri Amendment 4 - Prohibit Sales Tax
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015? Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant. The proposals passage would impact governmental entitys ability to revise their tax structures. State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.
This measure would ban imposing taxes on new things, but wouldn't ban increasing existing sales taxes.
Proponents say the measure is aimed at preventing taxes on services. Opponents say it could tie the hands of local governments by creating a tax policy that's inflexible to a changing economy.
Missouri Amendment 6 - Voter ID
Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to state that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to verify ones identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification? The proposed amendment will result in no costs or savings because any potential costs would be due to the enactment of a general law allowed by this proposal. If such a general law is enacted, the potential costs to state and local governments is unknown, but could exceed $2.1 million annually.
If passed, Amendment 6 would require Missourians to show a government-issued photo identification in order to vote.
Supporters of the amendment argue a voter ID requirement would prevent voter fraud, while opponents say it will disenfranchise some voters, including minorities, people who don't drive, and the elderly.
Missouri lawmakers proposed the legislation for the photo ID requirement, which was vetoed earlier this year by Governor Jay Nixon. The legislature then overturned Nixon's veto, sending the amendment to voters on the November ballot.
A constitutional amendment is needed to make a voter ID requirement law because the Missouri Supreme Court has previously found voter ID laws to be unconstitutional.
For more on this complex issue, see this story reported by Art Holliday.
St. Louis County Proposition S
Shall St. Louis County levy a tax of five cents per each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of assessed valuation for the purpose of providing services to persons sixty years of age or older?
Summary: The measure would increase the property tax by 5 cents per $100 assessed valuation to help pay for services aimed at keeping residents 60 and older in their own homes as long as possible. The property tax on a home worth $200,000 would increase by $19 a year. The extra revenue would be used for transportation, health, food and other services, with a local board deciding how to do that. Supporters say the need for services from growing numbers of senior citizens exceeds available federal and state money for such programs. Critics of such tax proposals complain that seniors themselves would pay the increased amount but that only some would benefit.
The measure is a proposed property tax increase of five cents per $100 of assessed value. The revenue generated from the new tax would be used to provide transportation, health and food services to senior citizens.
Meet the candidates
We asked each of the candidates to answer a survey so you could get to know their views before you head to the polls on Election Day. Select a race from the drop-down to meet the candidates.
PHOTOS: Election Day in America 2016