En español | All Missouri voters concerned about the coronavirus pandemic can safely vote from home with a mail-in ballot this year, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Mike Parson (R):
- All voters can request a mail-in ballot without needing a particular reason. But they’ll need to get their ballot notarized, with some exceptions.
- Voters who are 65-plus or who are considered at-risk for serious complications from the virus can safely vote from home via absentee ballot — which is different from a mail-in ballot in Missouri — without needing to get their ballot notarized.
Here’s what else you need to know:
How do I register to vote?
You can register online, by mail or in person. Register online at the Missouri secretary of state’s website or print a form from the website by selecting your county from a drop-down menu. Mail or deliver the completed application to your local election authority, where you can also register to vote in person. Registration applications are also available at any motor vehicle or driver licensing office or at any state agency providing service to the public. Registration applications must be submitted or postmarked by Oct. 7 to vote in the November election.
How can I get a mail-in or absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?
The two kinds of ballots that allow voters to safely cast their vote from home are mail-in and absentee. The new mail-in ballots are for any registered voter who wants to avoid the polls, for fear of coronavirus or any other reason, and must be notarized. Download the mail-in ballot application from the secretary of state’s website, complete it, and mail or deliver it to your local election authority’s office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21. If you’re voting for the first time and registered to vote by mail, you must submit a copy of a personal identification, which can be a Missouri driver’s license or other state-issued ID, U.S. passport, or current utility bill or bank statement (here’s a full list of acceptable IDs). You can also get the form from your election authority’s office.
Your mail-in ballot will be mailed to you to complete and get notarized. The secretary of state’s office has compiled a list of notaries who’ve volunteered to provide the service for free. To be counted, ballots must be received by your county election authority by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
Absentee ballots, meanwhile, should be used by voters who are considered at-risk of developing serious complications from the coronavirus, including those who are age 65-plus, are immunocompromised, live in a long-term care facility, or have certain other health conditions — along with those who are unable to go to the polls on Election Day for other reasons. Those considered at risk for serious complications or who are confined because of illness don’t need to get their ballots notarized.
You can download the request for an absentee ballot online and mail it to your local election authority or request it from your election authority’s office by email, mail, fax or in person. If you’re voting for the first time and registered to vote by mail, you must also submit a copy of a personal identification, which can be a Missouri driver’s license or other state-issued ID, U.S. passport, or current utility bill or bank statement (here’s a full list of acceptable IDs). Absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?
According to the secretary of state’s website there are 116 election jurisdictions in Missouri, each with its own voting system. There’s no single point of access. When absentee ballots are processed, they are counted by a bipartisan team.
For those who choose to vote in person, voting machines are not connected to the internet, so they can’t be hacked from the internet. Every voting machine in Missouri is required to produce a paper audit trail. The machines are publicly tested both before and after Election Day. Once checked for accuracy, election equipment is locked and sealed to prevent tampering.
When is Election Day? When are polls open?
Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Can I vote in-person before Election Day?
If you meet the qualifications to cast an absentee ballot, you may vote early in person at your local election office. You can also vote early via mail-in or absentee ballot through the mail.
What form of identification do I need to vote?
You’ll need a state license or ID card, U.S. passport, or a current utility bill or bank statement that contains your address. A full list of acceptable ID is on the secretary of state’s website.
What is being done to make polling places safe from coronavirus?
According to the secretary of state’s office, polling places will provide space between voters and poll workers and supply hand sanitizer, face masks and face shields for poll workers. Curbside voting may also be available; call your local election authority office for details.
Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?
For the Nov. 3 election, confirm your polling place with your local election authority. Many polling places will be the same, but it is best to make sure ahead of time.
What are the key races in my state?
- U.S. President
- U.S. House: All 8 seats
- Governor: Incumbent Mike Parsons (R) vs. Nicole Galloway (D)
- Lieutenant Governor: Incumbent Mike Kehoe (R) vs. Alissia Canady (D)
- Attorney General: Incumbent Eric Schmitt (R) vs. Rich Finneran (D)
- Secretary of State: Incumbent Jay Ashcroft (R) vs. Yinka Faleti (D)
- State Senate: 17 of 34 seat
- State House of Representatives: All 163 seats
What are the major issues?
- AARP Missouri supported expanding Medicaid and endorsed the Amendment 2 ballot initiative that voters approved in the Aug. 4 primary.
Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.
AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:
- Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
- Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure that older adults continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
- Unemployment during the coronavirus crisis reached the highest levels since the Great Depression, and older Americans have been affected disproportionately. If elected, how will you help Americans over the age of 50 recover economically from the effects of the coronavirus?
- Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. If elected, how will you cut prescription drug prices for all Americans?
- COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure these citizens can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?
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