Approval Voting in the March St. Louis City Primary Election

In the upcoming St. Louis City primary election on March 2nd, St. Louis voters will participate in their first election using approval voting. This means you will be able to vote for as many candidates as you approve of for each office—including Mayor, Comptroller, and Alderman.

Vote for as many or as few candidates as you like, and the top two vote-getters for each office will advance to a runoff on April 6th.

With approval voting, you can vote for as many candidates as you approve of.

  • If you like three candidates, you can vote for all three.
  • If you only want to vote for one candidate, you can do that, too.
  • If you’re afraid of wasting your vote, you can vote for your favorite candidate AND a spare.

You can always support your favorite candidate. And if there are other candidates you also find acceptable, you can vote for them, too.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to your new ballot (it’s easy!):

  1. Research the candidates for Mayor, Comptroller, and your ward Alderman. Decide which ones you’d be happy with.
  2. Fill out your ballot. Don’t forget that you can select as many candidates as you approve of.

That’s it! For information about where and how to vote, visit the St. Louis Board of Elections Commissioners website.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does the ballot look like?

Below, you can see the sample ballot released by the City of St. Louis.

Sample St. Louis city ballot for the March 2, 2021 primary election. Instructions indicate, "Vote for AS MANY names as you approve of in each race." Offices being voted on include Mayor, Comptroller, Alderman Ward 1, Alderman Ward 3, Alderman Ward 4, Alderman Ward 5, Alderman Ward 7, Alderman Ward 9, Alderman Ward 11, Alderman Ward 12, Alderman Ward 13, Alderman Ward 15, Alderman Ward 17, Alderman Ward 19, Alderman Ward 21, Alderman Ward 23, Alderman Ward 25, and Alderman Ward 27.
Sample St. Louis city ballot for the March 2, 2021 primary election. Instructions indicate, "Vote for AS MANY names as you approve of in each race." Offices being voted on include Mayor, Comptroller, Alderman Ward 1, Alderman Ward 3, Alderman Ward 4, Alderman Ward 5, Alderman Ward 7, Alderman Ward 9, Alderman Ward 11, Alderman Ward 12, Alderman Ward 13, Alderman Ward 15, Alderman Ward 17, Alderman Ward 19, Alderman Ward 21, Alderman Ward 23, Alderman Ward 25, and Alderman Ward 27.

How do I decide who I would approve of?

Research the candidates and decide which ones you would find acceptable if they were elected. Do they have policy positions that you agree with? Do their values align with yours? If you find that you would be happy with multiple candidates, you can vote for as many of them as you like.

The important thing is to gather information about the candidates and then make your decision based on what you learn.

If I vote for too many candidates, will my ballot be thrown out?

No. You can vote for as many candidates as you want in each race, and all of your votes will be counted.

What if I only like one candidate?

If you only like one candidate running for a particular office, you can still vote for just that one candidate. You don’t have to vote for more than one.

Can I vote for multiple candidates for every race on the ballot?

Yes, in this March 2nd primary, approval voting will apply to all races on the ballot. That means you can vote for as many candidates as you like for Mayor, Comptroller, and your ward’s Alderman.

Why are we using approval voting?

On November 3, 2020, St. Louis City voters passed Prop D for Democracy, a citizen-led ballot initiative that enacted nonpartisan, approval voting primaries followed by a top-two runoff.

The March 2nd primary is the first time that this new system will be used in St. Louis. The runoff election will be held on April 6th.