Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for July 29, 2020

Don’t Forget to Vote

There has been a lot going on over the past few months. From the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, to unrest in the streets, to the start of the major league baseball season and so much more, it’s hard to keep up with it all. It’s natural for some things to slip through the cracks. That’s why I wanted to take the time to remind you of something important happening in the next week: voting.

The November general election is fast approaching, but before we get there, we have the August primaries. This year, Missouri’s primary will be held on Aug. 4 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. This round of elections will determine who appears on the general election ballot in November for offices ranging from the county level all the way up to Congress. For the primary, Missourians will select a ballot from one established political party (a nonpartisan, issues-only ballot is also available), and vote for the candidates they believe will best represent that party in the upcoming general election. Additionally, Missouri voters will get the opportunity to decide whether expanding Medicaid is right for our state this August, regardless of which party they choose.

Historically, primary elections have less turnout than general elections, but these elections are just as important. In some cases, the primary will actually decide who wins the general election since only one party may have candidates running for a particular office. It’s also worth noting that Missouri has an open primary system, so one does not need to be a member of a particular political party to vote using that party’s ballot. From my perspective, the fact that the future of Missouri’s Medicaid program is on the ballot also highlights the importance of this year’s primary election.

I encourage all Missourians who are able to exercise their right to vote to make their voices heard on Aug. 4. Elections are important, and we need citizens to engage in this process. Likewise, I encourage voters to be informed. Learn about the candidates and research the issues before going out to vote. If you need help finding your polling place, information on candidates or the answers to other FAQs, please visit, or contact your local election authority.

While Missourians prepare to cast their ballots, the Missouri General Assembly has returned to the State Capitol for an extra legislative session to address violent crime in our state. Senate Bill 1 contains several  provisions including removing the residency requirement for police officers serving in St. Louis, creating a pretrial witness protection services fund and strengthening the penalty for the unlawful transfer of weapons to minors. The bill has been heard in committee and in the coming weeks, senators will begin discussing and debating it on the floor of the Missouri Senate.

Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at