The 5 Q's: Neely Myers discusses mail-in absentee voting in Missouri

Neely Myers

Q: In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic changed voting in Missouri this year?

A: Due to COVID-19, for the remainder of 2020, a Missouri voter may vote mail-in absentee without an excuse, regardless of the reason.

Q: What are the rules for Missouri?

A: Every state offers mail-in absentee voting. Some states, including Missouri, allow you to take part in mail-in absentee voting only in certain circumstances and require that an excuse be given for voting by mail. Due to the coronavirus, Missouri is giving all voters the option to vote by mail for the remainder of 2020.

Q: How can Missourians request a mail-in absentee ballot this year?

A: Voters can request a ballot by email, fax, in person or by mail. Voters can also vote absentee in person at local election offices during the six weeks before the election.

In Jasper County, contact County Clerk Charlie Davis at cdavis@jaspercountymo.gov or 417-358-0416. The fax is 417-358-0415. The address is 302 S. Main, Room 102, Carthage, MO 64836. The website is http://www.jaspercounty.org/county_clerk.html.

In Newton County, contact County Clerk Tami Owens at newton@sos.mo.gov or 417-451-8221. The fax is 417-451-7434. The address is 101 S. Wood St., Neosho, MO 64850. The website is newtoncountymo.com/county-clerk.

The deadline to register to vote in the August primary is Wednesday.

Q: Do absentee ballots need to be notarized this year in Missouri?

A: If a voter is incapacitated or confined due to an illness or permanent physical disability, or has COVID-19, or is at risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19, their ballots do not need to be notarized. At-risk categories include being 65 or older, living in a long-term care facility, having a chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, having a serious heart condition, being immunocompromised, having diabetes, having liver disease, or having chronic kidney disease or being on dialysis.

Everyone else can vote without an excuse but must have a notary stamp with their ballot.

Q: When is the deadline to request an absentee ballot?

A: Requests for a mail-in ballot must be received by the second Wednesday before election day, which is July 22 for the August primary and Oct. 21 for the November general election.

Voters can still vote absentee in person at their county clerk’s office until 5 p.m. the day before election day. Ballots must be received by the county clerk’s office by close of polls on election day.

If anyone has any questions or needs additional information, they may email the League of Women Voters of Greater Joplin Area at lwvofgja@outlook.com to my attention, send a Facebook message to the League of Women Voters of the Greater Joplin Area or consult the website of Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft, www.sos.mo.gov.

Voters may also email the league if they are currently unregistered and wish to register to vote, or if they are unfamiliar with local notaries, and we will help you find one.

While the League of Women Voters of Greater Joplin Area is currently a member-at-large unit, we are well on our way through the process of being voted a full, official league. For more information on how to become a league member, email lwvofgja@outlook.com.

Neely Myers was elected chairwoman of the League of Women Voters of Greater Joplin Area, which is working to become an official membership group of the national League of Women Voters.