• The first thing you need to know is that in Missouri an absentee ballot is not the same as a mail-in ballot and the rules for each are different.

If you’re confused about the rules about how to vote in Missouri, if you don’t want to go to the polls – we understand. To put it nicely, Missouri made remote voting a confusing mess. Unlike Kansas, where anyone can request a ballot to vote by mail, no excuses needed, in Missouri, there are just a limited number of reasons a person can vote remotely.

Prior to the 2020 elections and COVID-19, Missouri allowed what they called absentee voting. However with the pandemic and safety concerns, this year the state is allowing voting by mail, not to be excused with the original absentee voting.

Here’s one big difference between mail-in voting and absentee voting that you really need to be aware of – mail-in ballots can only be mailed in. Absentee ballots can be mailed in or returned in person. So if you receive a mail-in ballot, DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING YOU CAN TAKE YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT TO THE POLLS OR TO YOUR ELECTION OFFICE AND IT WILL BE COUNTED – IT WON’T.

All ballots mailed – whether they are absentee or mail-in – must be received no later than 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 or they don’t count.

Who qualifies for a mail-in ballot?

Anyone who is registered to vote in Missouri can request a mail in ballot. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Wed., Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.

Mail-in ballots must be signed and notarized before they are returned. To help eliminate the cost of the notary as a deterrent to voting, the State of Missouri has compiled a list of notaries who will notarize your ballot for free.

Currently, there about 60 notaries on the list that can be found at www.sos.mo.gov/elections/MailinNotary. Something tells us, they’re going to get pretty busy, so you might want to get your ballot notarized as early as possible. This isn’t a last minute process; Remember, you still need to have our ballot notarized with enough time to get your ballot in the mail and have it received on Electio

Who qualifies for an absentee ballot?

Individuals who qualify for an absentee ballot in Missouri are divided into two groups, those who need to have their ballot notarized and those who don’t.

Those who don’t need to have their ballot notarized are:

Individuals who are incapacitated or confined due to illness

In 2020 an individual who has contracted coronavirus or is at-risk due to any of the following:

• Is age 65 or older

• Lives in a long-term care facility

• Has chronic lung disease/asthma

• Has a serious heart condition

• Is immunocompromised

• Has diabetes

• Has chronic kidney disease and is undergoing dialysis

• Has liver disease

Even those these individuals do not have to have their ballots notarized, they DO NEED TO SIGN THEIR BALLOT. IF YOU FORGET TO SIGN YOUR BALLOT, IT WON’T BE COUNTED.

Individuals who can vote absentee, who must have their ballot notarized include those that due to:

Religious beliefs or practices

Working as an election worker

Incarceration, if still eligible to vote

Certified participation in an address confidentiality program

Absence on Election Day from your election jurisdiction.

How to apply for absentee or mail ballots?

Both absentee and mail-in ballots can be requested in person or online. To request an in person application, go to your election office. To request an application online, go to www.sos.mo.gov/elections.

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