Election Day is just over a month away and a lot has changed for voters since the last time they cast a ballot.
A new elections law went into effect after the August primary election and, as local election authorities, we have an obligation to educate voters about what to expect when they vote this fall. We want Missourians to be informed, confident and — most importantly — engaged voters so we’ve made a list to prepare them for Nov. 8.
Bring a photo ID to the polls
Voters that cast a ballot in person at their polling place or during absentee voting will need to show a photo ID issued by the state of Missouri or federal government, such as a Missouri driver’s license, Missouri non-driver’s license, a U.S. passport, or military ID. Importantly, you do NOT need a REAL ID to vote and the address on your ID does NOT need to match the address on your voter registration.
The state does have resources available to help voters obtain a free photo ID so we encourage them to contact the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office for more information.
Voters without a photo ID can still vote
If a voter does not have one of these IDs, they can still cast a blue provisional ballot, which will be counted after the election if their signature matches the signature on their voter registration record.
This option does require more time to fill out both the envelope and the ballot, so we encourage voters without a photo ID to plan ahead and budget extra time. The more preparation that voters can do before going to vote, the better their experience will be.
In the spirit of expectation-setting, we also want voters to be aware that increased numbers of blue provisional ballots may impact the timing of election results. It’s important to check each provisional ballot with care so our bipartisan teams will adjudicate provisional ballots during the certification period following the election. This means that the results close races may take a bit longer to certify if a large number of blue provisional envelopes are outstanding on election night. It’s not an indication of any issue or problem—it’s simply how the law is appropriately implemented.
There are no changes to mail absentee voting
We’ve heard concerns from voters, particularly those who are permanently disabled or homebound, about whether they’ll be able to continue voting by mail. The answer is yes. Absentee voting by mail is still valid and a photo ID is not required for those voters.
Voters can also take advantage of a new no-excuse absentee voting period
Beginning Oct. 25 and continuing through 5 p.m. on Nov. 7, all registered voters can vote in person at their local election office without giving a reason. This is an incredibly convenient option for voters that is no different than election day voting. We are looking forward to the opportunity it provides to hopefully lessen the length of election day lines and help increase voter turnout across our state.
Registered Missouri voters can update their address at any time, including on Election Day, even if they move counties
This relatively minor change in the law will have serious benefits for voters. College students that registered to vote as seniors in high school in their home county and need to update their address to their new dorm the day before the election, Christian County voters who move to Greene County or vice-versa the week before the election, and recent retirees from Callaway that downsize to a senior living community in Boone County the weekend before the election will now all have the opportunity to cast a ballot on Election Day.
Lastly, please remember that if you have questions about the new election law, reach out directly to your local election authority. We want to ensure that every eligible voter can make their voice heard on Nov. 8.
Story by BRIANNA LENNON and SHANE SCHOELLER | Missouri Independent