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Local races abound on today's ballots in Missouri

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Polling places will stay open in Missouri until 7:00 tonight to let voters have their say in a number of local races.

- In St. Louis City, two seats on the School Board are on the ballot. Seven names are on the ballot, but only five have been actively running. Incumbents Darnetta Clinkscale and James Buford face challenges from Peter Downs, Donna Jones, and Joe Clark.

The city has used optical scan and touch screen voting for a few previous smaller elections, but this is the first city-wide test of the new machines. There's also a city charter question on the ballot that asks voters whether they want to tweak the recall process to give petitioners a set amount of time to gather signatures. Currently, there's no time limit.

- There's a special election in Lincoln and St. Charles Counties for State Senate to replace Jon Dolan, who recently resigned to take a lobbyist job. Two state Representatives - Republican Scott Rupp and Democrat Wayne Henke - are facing off, though the win will be short-lived because the seat is up for election again in the fall. Both Rupp and Henke have already filed to run for that election, as has St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil (as a Republican).

Other races in the region:

- St. Louis Community Colleges are asking for a tax increase, with the money going for building projects, job training programs, and to upgrade security systems.

- In the city of St. Charles, 7th Ward councilwoman Dottie Greer faces a recall vote.

- The race for Wentzville Mayor is a rematch between current mayor Paul Lambi and the opponent he beat two years ago by just 17 votes - former mayor Vicki Boedecker.

- There are contested mayoral races in a number of cities, including Herculaneum, Overland, Pacific, Country Club Hills, Ellisville, Manchester, St. George, Sunset Hills, University City, Vinita Park, and Wellston.

- There are also a host of tax and bond questions, including in the De Soto, Sunrise, St. Charles, Fort Zumwalt and Wentzville School Districts, as well as in the cities of Crestwood and Bridgeton. Other non-tax ballot questions will appear on ballots in Des Peres, Ellisville, Glen Echo Park, Greendale, and Hazelwood.

- Controversial development plans and the issue of eminent domain have made aldermanic races in Sunset Hills and Clayton contested. In Sunset Hills, people upset with the way the city managed a plan for a shopping development that went bust are behind a slate of candidates aiming to unseat the men and women to approved the development. That includes the Mayor, Jim Hobbs, who faces a challenge from John Hunzeker.

In Clayton, the issue is over a plan by the Centene Corporation to build a new headquarters at Forsyth & Hanley, on the site where Library Unlimited (and later Borders) once stood. The city gave Centene eminent domain power to take nearby property that is occupied by owners who don't want to sell. Centene has said it would only use eminent domain as a last resort, but a group opposed to the plan has tried to force the city to let voters approve or reject the project. A court recently rejected that effort.

- Voters in Kansas City will decide whether to approve two taxes that would raise money for renovations and upgrades at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums, where the Chiefs and Royals play.

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