Missourians have more voting options in 2020 due to COVID-19

2 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, July 08 2020 Jul 8, 2020 Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:36:24 AM CDT July 08, 2020 in News
By: Mikayla Easley, Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA (Missourian) - Registered voters in Missouri will be able to vote absentee, by mail or in person with social distancing modifications in both the Aug 4 and Nov. 3 elections.

Voting options expanded in Missouri for the 2020 elections after Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 631, which allows voters to submit absentee ballots if they have COVID-19 or are at risk for contracting the virus. The bill also allows voters to request mail-in ballots.

The deadline to register to vote in Missouri’s August primary is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Boone County residents can register on the county clerk’s website.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft outlined the rules for the revised voting methods during a news conference Tuesday.

Absentee ballots are available for registered voters who are unable to come to the polls in person on election day.

All absentee ballots must be notarized unless the voter is incapacitated or confined because of illness, has contracted the coronavirus or is at risk.

Those at risk are defined as people:

  • 65 or older.
  • Living in long-term care facilities.
  • With chronic lung disease or asthma.
  • With serious heart conditions.
  • Who are immunocompromised.
  • With diabetes.
  • With chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
  • With liver disease.

Absentee ballots can be requested at the county clerk’s office until the day before an election. Ballots can be turned in either by mail or in person.

Along with provisions related to COVID-19, SB 631 allows mail-in ballots for the first time for any registered voter in Missouri. However, all mail-in ballots will have to be notarized.

The deadline to apply for both absentee and mail-in ballots for the August primaries is 5 p.m. July 22.

In Boone County, voters can cast an absentee ballot at the Boone County Government Center or submit a ballot by mail. Information on where to apply for either option is on the Boone County Clerk’s website.

Ashcroft said absentee and mail-in ballots will be counted only if election authorities receive them by 7 p.m. on election day. In addition, voters turning in ballots by mail must use the U.S. Postal Service.

Read more at our partners, Columbia Missourian.

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