Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft stopped in Cape Girardeau Thursday to promote the safety of in-person voting and discuss the new 2020 absentee and mail-in voting options. He was hosted in the Cape Girardeau City Hall by Cape Mayor Bob Fox.
As the Nov. 3 general election approaches and new voting options are temporarily available due to COVID-19, Ashcroft said officials “want to make sure Missourians are aware of upcoming deadlines for registering to vote and for requesting and returning your ballot.”
If you are not registered to vote, you can still register online or in person with the Cape Girardeau County Clerk. The last day to register to vote in November election is Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Legislation expanded voting options for the August and November 2020 elections. There are two new options:
• A new, COVID-19-related excuse to qualify for an absentee ballot.
A voter is eligible if they have coronavirus or are at risk because they fit into any of the following categories: age 65 or older; live in a long term care facility; have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; have serious heart conditions; are immunocompromised; have diabetes; have chronic kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis; or have liver disease. A voter who is eligible as a result of being susceptible to COVID-19 may cast a ballot without obtaining notarization of the ballot envelope.
• A new “mail-in ballot” option that can be requested by any registered voter.
All registered voters are eligible, but the ballot envelope, per state law, must be notarized. Additionally, state law requires mail-in ballots to be returned to the local election authority by U.S. mail only.
“Even with the additional options, I want to assure Missouri voters that their local election authorities are taking precautions to make voting in person safe and secure,” Ashcroft said. “My office has provided them with sanitization options, floor distancing strips, face masks, face shields and other items to assist in creating a safe voting environment. Voting in person is the most secure way to cast a ballot.”
Upcoming deadlines are:
• The last day to request by mail an absentee or mail-in ballot to be sent to you by your local election official is Wednesday, Oct. 21.
• The last day to vote by absentee in person at your local election office is the close of business on Monday, Nov. 2.
• The last day for your local election official to receive your ballot is 7 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Although the Postal Service has sent out information telling voters to mail in ballots at least six days before the election, Ashcroft recommends mailing them at least a full two weeks early (by Oct. 20).
After completing three successful elections in the state during the COVID-19 crisis, Ashcroft is confident that the Nov. 3 election will go well and the state will have election results available that night.
More information, flyers, absentee and mail-in ballot applications and contact information for the Secretary of State’s office and local election authorities may be found at www.GoVoteMissouri.com.