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KC Election Guide: What Voters Need to Know About the 2022 Ballot

In addition to statewide questions over marijuana legalization and police funding — plus elections for local, state and federal office — Kansas City, Missouri, has its own set of local issues.

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Above image credit: A poll worker peels off an "I Voted" sticker. (Carlos Moreno | KCUR 89.3)

Missouri’s General Election ballot is chock-full of important issues and candidates to consider.

For Kansas City voters, three KC-specific ballot questions also merit attention. Questions 1 and 2 are bond measures to upgrade pools and parks, to renovate the Kansas City Convention Center and to help fund more affordable housing. They don’t require a tax increase but do require a super majority to pass.

Here’s what you need to know about how to vote, and the Kansas City specific ballot questions you’ll be voting on:

Key Dates

  • ­Oct. 12, 2022: Missouri’s voter registration deadline for the general election. Here’s how to check your voter registration.
  • Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2022: No-excuse absentee voting. This is new. In the past, Missouri required a valid reason to vote absentee. Now, part of a new state election law allows people to vote in the two weeks prior to the election without an excuse like physical disability or travel on Election Day. If you use the no-excuse option, you must vote at an election office in-person and cannot mail in the absentee ballot. Here’s more information.
  • Nov. 8, 2022: General election. Polls open at 6 a.m. in Missouri.

How Do I Register to Vote?

In Missouri, you must be 17-and-a-half years old to register and 18 years old by Election Day to vote. You must also be a Missouri resident and a United States citizen.

The deadline to register to vote before Missouri’s general election is Oct. 12, 2022.

Not sure whether you’re already registered? This page at the Secretary of State website can help you find out.

Otherwise you can register the following ways:

Do I Need a Photo ID to Vote in Kansas City?

Yes, under Missouri’s new election law, a valid photo identification is required to cast a ballot. That law is being challenged in court by the ACLU and other organizations, but is currently in effect.

Valid IDs include:

  • Non-expired Missouri Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID
  • Non-expired U.S. passport
  • Military photo ID

Here’s how to get a valid voter ID in Missouri. You can get a photo ID for free at the Missouri Department of Revenue or by calling 573-526-VOTE (8683).

Not sure where to vote? Find your polling place here.

What am I Voting On?

In the November general election, Missouri voters will decide who they’re sending the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, as well as elect officials on the local level. But there are also a handful of statewide ballot issues that are worth paying attention to.

Find your full sample ballot here.

There are also five ballot questions for all Missouri voters.

The proposed amendments offer a wide array of changes to the state constitution, including on how tax money is invested and whether to call a new constitutional convention. Read more about those measures here.

Amendment 4: Kansas City Police Funding

One of the statewide ballot questions, Amendment 4, applies specifically to Kansas City, but will be decided by voters across the state.

Amendment 4 would give Missouri lawmakers more power over Kansas City’s police budget, by requiring the city to increase its minimum general fund spending for police through December 2026. While the measure is written broadly and will be voted on by residents throughout Missouri, it would only apply to the Kansas City Police Department.

Read more about the proposed constitutional amendment here.

What Are the KC-specific Questions on the Nov. 8 Ballot?

The Kansas City Council has placed three questions on the General Election ballot. Two questions are bond measures and one pertains to the removal of some property in the Northland from the Kansas City parks system.

Question 1:

This question asks whether voters will allow Kansas City to issue up to $125 million in general obligation bonds. If approved, the city says it would invest nearly $80 million in bonds over five years to upgrade its 10 community centers, re-open shuttered public pools, fix historic fountains and do other playground and park improvements.

It would also allow the city to invest $45 million to address deferred maintenance at the Kansas City Convention Center. The city says it is losing convention business because of current shabby conditions at Bartle Hall.

City officials say this bond issue would not increase property taxes or add to the city’s debt load because these bonds would be issued as existing bond debt rolls off.

broad coalition of civic organizations has endorsed this proposal, saying the convention center and parks and recreation amenities are worthy investments.

There is no organized campaign opposition against the measure, although some skeptics have questioned whether these projects are the most urgent priorities in a city with massive infrastructure needs.

This ballot measure requires more than a simple majority to pass because it involves general obligation bonds. It will require a four-sevenths vote, or roughly 57% voter approval.

Question 2:

This measure asks whether voters will allow Kansas City to issue up to $50 million in general obligation bonds to bolster the city’s affordable housing trust fund over the next five years. Mayor Quinton Lucas says this is the largest investment Kansas City has ever made for affordable housing.

This would add to existing funds in the Housing Trust Fund, to federal funding for affordable housing and to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

Kansas City urgently needs more affordable housing stock, as monthly rents and the cost of home-ownership have skyrocketed.

While there is no organized campaign opposing the measure, some critics argue the city’s plan is thin on details, including what kind of housing will be built, how quickly the money will be spent, and how these projects will help the poorest families.

The ballot language states the money will be spent on affordable housing “through the rehabilitation, renovation and construction of houses and buildings, including blight removal, to provide affordable housing for very low- to moderate-income households.”

The city pledges this will not result in a tax increase or add to the city’s debt load. This ballot measure also requires 57% voter approval to pass.

Question 3:

Removal of land from the Kansas City park system requires voter approval. This question asks voters to allow Kansas City to remove two tracts of land, totaling nearly 12 acres, from the park system, to realign a piece of property for the proposed Tiffany Springs Parkway in the Northland.

The city wants to modify the existing right-of-way alignment for the proposed Tiffany Springs Parkway between Northwest Prairie View Road and North Amity Road in Platte County. Voter approval would allow the city to do that. The actual project is not yet funded, nor is there a construction timeline yet.

This measure requires a simple majority to pass.

This story first appeared on KCUR 89.3, a member of the KC Media Collective. Lynn Horsley is a freelance writer in Kansas City.

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