September 28, 2020

Voting in Missouri made accessible by mail-in ballots, in-person voting or absentee

On Nov. 3, Missouri will hold an election where voters can cast a ballot for the presidential candidate they support. For Missourian’s who do not wish to vote in person, absentee and mail-in ballot options will also be available.

Missouri’s next election will take place on Nov. 3. Missouri will vote for a candidate to be President of the United States. This election has stirred controversy surrounding mail-in voting and absentee ballots, all with the COVID-19 pandemic hanging in the backdrop. It has become commonplace to hear “this is the most important election of our lifetime.” So, how exactly do Missouri residents cast their ballots this year? 

Graphic by Jenna Jones.

Mail-In Voting 

Anyone that fears contracting or transmitting COVID-19 is allowed to cast their ballot via mail. Mail-in ballots must be requested from a resident’s local election authority, either in person or by mail. First-time voters must mail a request for a ballot. The request must be accompanied by a copy of acceptable forms of your personal identification cards. According to the Missouri Secretary of State website, acceptable forms of identification include: 

“1. Identification issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state, or a local election authority of the state;

  1. Identification issued by the United States government or agency thereof;
  2. Identification issued by an institution of higher education, including a university, college, vocational and technical school, located within the state of Missouri;
  3. A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter; or
  4. Other identification approved by the secretary of state under rules promulgated pursuant to Missouri law.”

The state of Missouri requires mail-in ballots to be returned by mail in a provided envelope, with the statement on the provided envelope signed and witnessed by a notary. Mail-in ballots must be received by your local election authority no later than 7p.m. on Election Day. It is recommended to mail back the ballot prior to Oct. 20.  

Absentee Voting

If unable to make it to a polling place on Election Day and do not wish to cast a ballot via mail, absentee ballots are available up to six weeks prior to Election Day. The state of Missouri requires a valid reason to vote absentee. According to the Missouri Secretary of State website, the following reasons are acceptable: 

“1. Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote;

  1. Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability;
  2. Religious belief or practice;
  3. Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place;
  4. Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retained.
  5. Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns.
  6. For an election that occurs during the year 2020, the voter has contracted or is in an at-risk category for contracting or transmitting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (COVID-19).”

Voting In Person

Lastly, Missouri voters can still vote by reporting to their local election authority to cast their ballot in person. Polls will be open from 6a.m. to 7p.m. on Election Day. On the day of, voters will be required to demonstrate an acceptable form of identification to their local election authority before casting their ballot. 

How to Register and Voting Resources 

To register to vote, Missouri residents can easily register online here: https://s1.sos.mo.gov/elections/voterregistration

If you are unsure where your local election authority is, or where to vote, it can be found here: 

https://voteroutreach.sos.mo.gov/PRD/VoterOutreach/VOSearch.aspx

To be as informed as possible leading up to the election, be sure to monitor the Missouri Secretary of State website here: 

https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/howtovote

 

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