With all that is happening, we want to make sure Missourians have the information they need to vote safely and with confidence.
When to Vote
MHCFA recommends that you vote absentee in-person before November 3rd at your local election authority if you are able. Doing so will help decrease crowding on Election Day and ensure no last-minute COVID-19 exposure prevents you from voting. (It is too late to request a mail-in ballot.)
Or, you can vote on November 3; polls are open from 6am-7pm. If you are in line by 7pm, they have to let you vote, even if you don’t get your ballot until well after 7.
How to Vote Absentee In-Person
Missouri does not have early voting, but it does have in-person absentee voting. You can vote at your local election authority, or in some places, additional satellite locations.
When you arrive, ask for an absentee ballot, or more likely, join the line of people there to vote absentee.
You will have to give a reason (technically called an “excuse”) for voting absentee. There are two excuses for voting absentee which do not require a notary:
- 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
- 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. If you use this excuse, all you have to say is “I am at high risk for COVID complications.” You do not need to provide proof.
If you choose to use a different excuse, such as expecting to be out of town, you will need a notary. If your election authority does not have a notary present, you can find one at https://tinyurl.com/y4alwsav.
For more details, you can visit the following links:
- For more details about the absentee voting process: https://866ourvote.org/state-information/missouri/)
- Secretary of State Voting Info Page: https://tinyurl.com/yakozoet
Tips for Voting Safely
Whether you are voting in person absentee or on Election Day, we urge you to have strategy which informs your plan. Despite the pandemic, polling places have not been epicenters of COVID community spread. So there are definitely things we can do to mitigate risk and vote safely under these conditions.
We’ve included an infographic illustrating the six tactics which can make up an effective strategy.
- Distance (least 6ft from others)
- Masks (worn properly at all times)
- Direction in Line (avoid directly facing others)
- Hygiene (keep hands clean, bring your own sanitizer)
- Time (get in and out as soon as possible)
- Ventilation (fresh air mitigates risk)
If you’re a person living with disability, curbside voting should be available at your polling place. You may want to bring someone with you who can go into the poll and ask that ballot be brought to you.
Know Your Rights
We hope no Missourian encounters voter suppression on Election Day. Just in case, know your rights in advance.
If you are in line by 7pm, they have to let you vote, even if you don’t get your ballot until well after 7.
Voter intimidation includes any activity that is reasonably calculated to instill fear and compel a prospective voter to vote against their preferences or to not vote at all. Voter intimidation is a federal crime and may include tactics such as disrupting voter lines, harassing or following voters, using or threatening violence, or spreading false information about voting requirements.
If you see or experience voter intimidation:
- If you fear imminent violence, call 911
- Notify the election officials at the polling place
- Document exactly what happened
- Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE.
Additional Tips for Your Voting Adventure
Whether you are voting absentee or on Election Day, plan for a long wait, much of which may be outside:
- Dress in warm, comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Bring (healthy) snacks and water.
- If rain is forecast, bring an umbrella and/or rain coat.
- Bring and use hand sanitizer.
- Have tissues and/or handkerchiefs handy.
- If you have a lightweight portable seat, bring it.
- Create a playlist of your favorite music and/or podcast.
- Bring something to read.
- Have more than one form of ID if possible.
- Carry extras in a small backpack or bag you won’t get tired of carrying.
Using as many of these elements as possible within your voting plan will mitigate risk of infection and help you stay fueled, encouraged, and warm in case there is an extended wait.
If you have any voting questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help. Or call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.
Vote as if our lives depend upon it, because it does.
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Be safe and well.