FAQ: Voting in KCMO during COVID-19

Updated: Aug 12

Provided by the ACLU

What are the important dates for this year’s Elections?

General election – Tuesday, November 3

  • Deadline: Must register to vote by Wednesday, October 7

  • Deadline: Must request an absentee or mail-in ballot application by Wednesday, October 21


Primary and Expansion of Medicaid Election – Tuesday, August 4

  • Registration & absentee or mail-in ballot deadline has passed.

  • Find your poling place here.

I heard there was a new Election law passed this year. What does it do?

This year, the Missouri Legislature passed, and Governor Parson signed, Senate Bill 631. This bill was passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and expanded the ability to vote by mail. This created a new pathway for voting by mail giving us: (1) Absentee Voting and (2) Mail-In Voting.

I have contracted coronavirus or are in an at-risk category that is more susceptible to COVID-19 and worry about going to a polling place? What are my options?

VOTE ABSENTEE!

No notary is required using the COVID-19 reason (excuse #7) on your Absentee Ballot. Request one here.

What is the difference between absentee voting and vote-by-mail?

Dictionary.com has a great breakdown of the actual meaning here but to save you time, and confusion, the term can be used interchangeably. You request the ballot, it gets mailed to you and you can mail it back or drop it off. For the state, you must get it notarized unless you fall into a specific category.

I want to vote by mail, but am not sure I am eligible to use the absentee ballot excuses. What should I do?

Because of Senate Bill 631 ALL other registered Missouri voters may use Mail-In Voting to vote by mail

Mail In Ballots MUST BE NOTARIZED. You can can get your ballots notarized for free. Find a place near you here.


You are eligible to vote absentee without a notary if:

You are incapacitated or confined due to illness (#2)

-OR-

You have contracted coronavirus or are in an “at-risk” group (#7). “At-risk” voters include any voter who is:

  • Aged 65 or older

  • Immunocompromised

  • Living in a long-term care facility

  • Has Diabetes

  • Has chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • Has a serious heart condition

  • Has chronic kidney disease and is undergoing dialysis

  • Has liver disease

The “No Notary Required” excuses will be listed as #2 (illness or incapacity) or #7 (COVID-19) on your absentee ballot.


I don’t fall under those categories and want to vote Absentee? Can I?

You are eligible to vote absentee WITH A NOTARY due to the following reasons:

  • Absence from your election jurisdiction on Election Day (#1)

  • Religious beliefs or practices (#3)

  • Working as an election worker (#4)

  • Incarceration, if you have maintained your eligibility to vote (#5)

  • Certified participation in an address confidentiality program (#6)


*Please note: Although Governor Parson allowed for expanded electronic notary services for some documents during the coronavirus pandemic, absentee ballots using reasons #1, #3, #4, #5, or #6 cannot be notarized online at this time.

- Using reasons #2 or #7 on your absentee ballot will not require a notary. The Attorney General has free listed on their website here for all of Missouri, and I have organized the Kansas City/St Joe locations by category here.

How do I get an Absentee Ballot and when do I turn it in?
  • Your deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Wednesday, October 21 at 5 p.m.

  • Your absentee ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

  • Not postmarked by Election Day, received by Election Day

  • Your absentee ballot may be submitted to your local election authority by mail, fax, email, or in-person.

  • You may submit your absentee ballot in-person to your local election authority beginning 6 weeks before Election Day until the day of the election.

  • For this year’s General Election, you may submit your absentee ballot in person between October 22 and November 2.

  • To submit your absentee ballot in-person, you MUST show an ID.

  • Your absentee ballot MUST check a reason (of those listed above) as to why you expect to vote absentee.

  • It is illegal to charge for absentee ballots to be notarized in Missouri.

  • Your absentee ballot MUST be signed.

  • Be sure to check both the front and back of your ballot, as some candidates or issues may be listed on both sides.

Can I still vote by mail if I don’t fall under any of the Absentee Ballot excuses?

Absolutely! If you are not eligible to vote through absentee voting, but would still like to vote by mail, you may use the state’s Mail-In Voting system. All registered Missouri voters are eligible to vote by Mail-In Ballot. You DO NOT need an excuse to use a Mail-In Ballot.

You are eligible to vote by Mail-In Ballot as long as you are registered to vote. Check your registration here. Register to vote here.

Does my Mail-In Ballot need to be notarized?

Your Mail-In Ballot must be signed and notarized.

*Please note: Although Governor Parson allowed for expanded electronic notary services for some documents during the coronavirus pandemic, mail in ballots cannot be notarized online at this time. We will update this if we hear anything differently but we have a list of volunteer notaries that will do it for free here.

How do I get a Mail-In Ballot and when do I turn it in?
  • You must complete an application for a mail-in ballot to your local election authority by Wednesday, October 21 at 5 p.m. You can do that here.

  • Your mail-in ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

  • Not postmarked by Election Day, received by Election Day

  • Your mail-in ballot may be submitted to your local election authority by mail or in-person.

  • To submit your mail-in ballot in-person, you MUST show an ID.

  • Your mail-in ballot MUST be signed and notarized.

  • It is illegal in Missouri to charge for notarizing absentee ballots, though this language is not explicitly stated in the statute for mail-in ballots.

  • You should not be charged to have your ballot notarized!

  • Be sure to check both the front and back of your ballot, as some candidates or issues may be listed on both sides.

What if I want to vote in person? Can I?

You may still cast your ballot in person on Election Day. Your designated polling place may have changed to accommodate coronavirus safety measures.

If you requested an absentee or mail-in ballot and did not submit it by Election Day, you may still go in-person to your designated polling place to vote in person on Election Day. Make sure you find your polling place. It may change between now and Election Day. You can do that here.


ABOUT US 

#VoteKC is a non-partisan coalition of community stakeholders helping Kansas City voters prepare to participate on election day. By sharing accurate polling information, educating voters, providing up to date COVID health and safety guidelines, hosting voter engagement events and providing election day transportation VoteKC is working to ensure every Kansas City voter is heard.

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