ST. LOUIS — In Missouri, voters are searching more and more for information about absentee voting. In fact, it's the number one search term according to Google.
But, there remains some confusion among voters. The question, 'What's the difference between mail-in and absentee voting" is also among the most searched topics.
Here is what you need to know.
A mail-in ballot is new this year, approved as a voting option because of the coronavirus. Any registered voter can request one. You’ll get your ballot in the mail. It needs to be notarized, then these ballots must be mailed back.
An absentee ballot can also be returned by mail. If you don’t want to put your vote in a mailbox though, absentee ballots can be returned in person, at an election authority, before Election Day.
To vote absentee in Missouri, you need to have one of these reasons for not being able to vote in person:
- Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote
- 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 (No ballot notary is required.)
- Religious belief or practice
- Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter's polling place
- Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retaine
- Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns
- 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 2, “COVID-19.” (No ballot notary is required.)
Request your chosen ballot as soon as possible, but it must be done before Oct. 21 online, or in person at your election authority. The ballots will begin to arrive after Sept. 22.
There are no wrong answers when you’re filling out your ballot, but when you’re choosing which ballot to request if you want to vote by mail -- mail-in or absentee -- you need to pick the right one for you.
In most states, including Illinois, mail-in and absentee ballots are the same, but Missouri is more complicated.
Absentee voting for the Nov. 3 general election underway.
St. Louis voters may cast their ballots at the Board of Election Commissioners, located at 300 N. Tucker Blvd. It will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Nov. 2. The Election Board will also be open on two Saturdays before the election, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Starting Oct. 12, St. Louis residents can go to four satellite locates for absentee ballots: Buder Library, Central Library, Schlafly Library, and Julia Davis Library.
Any St. Louis resident who has any questions about their voter registration status may contact the Election Board at 314-622-4336 or visit this website.
Registered voters should start to receive their Notice of Election cards in the mail in the third or fourth week of October, according to the Board of Elections. Voters are encouraged to check their Notice of Election card since some polling places may have changed.
Statewide, the deadline to vote absentee in-person is Nov. 2 at 5.p.m.
Oct. 21 is the last day a voter can apply to receive a ballot in the mail.