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Source: US State of Missouri

Election Day is less than a month away and as a result of the coronavirus, you and your family might be thinking about voting in a different manner this year. I believe it is important to have a voting plan, and I want to provide you with information about the different voting options available to voters for November’s general election. This information can also be found on the St. Louis County Board of Elections’ website.

Registering to Vote

First, it is important to register to vote if you are not already registered. You can register to vote by visiting the secretary of state’s website and submitting the required paperwork. If you need to check your voter registration, you can also do that on the secretary of state’s website or by visiting the following link. The last day to register to vote in Missouri is Oct. 7, 2020.

Absentee Voting

Traditionally, Missouri voters could request an absentee ballot for one of six reasons: incapacity or confinement due to illness, absence from the district on Election Day, service as an election worker, religious beliefs or practices, incarceration (while still eligible to vote) or participation in an address confidentiality program. With the exception of those voting absentee because of the virus, all absentee ballots must be notarized. If you choose to submit an absentee ballot by mail, a notary must certify the ballot. Notaries are not allowed to charge a fee for certifying absentee ballots.

Under legislation passed this year, individuals may cast an absentee ballot if they meet certain criteria related to COVID-19. Absentee ballots may be submitted without a notary if you are over 65, incapacitated or confined due to illness, reside in a long-term care facility, are immunocompromised, have asthma, diabetes, a heart condition or chronic lung, kidney or liver disease. You only need to meet one of these criteria to submit an absentee ballot without a notary seal.

Voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot have until Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. to request one by mail, or they can request one in person at their local election authority before Election Day. Absentee ballots can be retuned in person or by mail, but they must be received by the election authority before polls close at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. For more information on absentee voting in St. Louis County, please visit the Board of Elections’ webpage on absentee voting.

Mail-In Voting

Every voter is eligible to vote via a mail-in ballot. You must apply for a mail-in ballot in person or by mail, and every mail-in ballot must be notarized. Mail-in ballots may only be returned by U.S. mail, and the ballot must be received by your local election authority before the polls close on Election Day. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot by mail is Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.

Acceptable Forms of Identification for In-Person Voting

If you choose to vote in person, you will need to present one form of valid ID. You may bring an ID issued by the federal government or the state of Missouri, like a driver’s license, passport or voter ID card. If you are a college student, you may use the ID issued by your college or university. You may also present a driver’s license or other state identification card from another state. Another acceptable form of ID is a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document that includes your name and current address. The Board of Elections provides photos of each of these examples here.

Voter’s Bill of Rights

In order to ensure a smooth process at the ballot box, you are entitled to certain rights when you vote. You have the right to cast your ballot privately and without interference, view a sample ballot in the polling place before voting, receive further instructions on how to vote from election judges at your polling place and receive a new ballot if you make an error. You also have the right to vote if you are in line at your polling place before polls close at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. To find a full list of your rights as a voter, please visit the St. Louis County Board of Election’s website.

St. Louis County Board of Elections Contact Information

The St. Louis County Board of Elections is available to assist you with any questions you may have regarding voting. The Board of Elections’ phone number is 314-615-1800. You may also email the Board of Elections at stlouiscovotes@stlouisco.com. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the office’s address is 725 Northwest Plaza Dr., St. Ann, MO 63074. The Board of Elections website is also an excellent resource to view a sample ballot, read about candidates and issues, as well as find your polling place.

It is important for everyone to vote. I believe it is our civic duty to vote and make our voices heard. I hope you found this information helpful.

MIL OSI USA News