Absentee voting now underway in Missouri

Austin Huguelet
Lee Ann urphy

If you’re planning to vote an absentee ballot this year and you don’t want to wait for the mail, you’re in luck.

Missouri allows voters to cast absentee ballots in person up to six weeks before Election Day, and this year, that started on Tuesday.

It’s perhaps the easiest way to vote before Nov. 3 and there’s no notary or mail involved.

Here’s how to take advantage:

Make sure you’re eligible

You'll need an excuse defined in state law to vote absentee, the first six of which are as follows:

You'll be outside the county on Election Day;

You're incapacitated or confined "due to illness or physical disability," or you're primarily responsible for taking care of a person who is;

Your religious belief or practice;

You work as an election authority or as a member of an election authority, or you'll be working for an election authority at a location other than your polling place;

You're incarcerated, provided you remain qualified to vote;

You're a participant in the state's address confidentiality program due to safety concerns.

This year only, there's also a special seventh excuse you can use if 1) you've contracted COVID-19 or 2) you meet at-risk criteria. You’re considered at-risk if:

You're 65 or older;

You live in a long-term care facility;

You have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;

You have serious heart conditions;

You're immunocompromised;

You have diabetes;

You have chronic kidney disease and you're undergoing dialysis; or

You have liver disease.

Of course, you may note that some excuses, such as the one requiring incarceration, may actually preclude in-person voting.

Go vote

If you meet the criteria, you can head to your local election authority’s office between Tuesday and Monday, Nov. 2, and vote just like you would at the polls.

For Newton County voters: Absentee voting began on Tuesday. Other important dates are

October 7 - Last day to register to vote for November election and

October 21 - Last day absentee ballots can be mailed out to voters.

Voters can vote during regular hours at the Newton County Clerk's office at the courthouse in Neosho, 101 South Wood Street. For more information call 417-451-8221 or visit their website at http://www.newtoncountymo.com/county-clerk.html.

Information about other counties can be found here:www.sos.mo.gov/elections/govotemissouri/localelectionauthority..

You’ll need proof of identification just like you would need at the polls on Election DayEligible IDs include:

Any ID issued by the state or U.S. government, like a driver’s license or U.S. passport;

Any ID issued by a university, college, or vocational and technical school in Missouri; or

A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or another government document with your name and address on it.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3 with races including President, state, and local offices.