Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is traveling the state to get the message out about the different ways to vote this year and the requirements that come with them. Missouri voters can cast a ballot in person, by absentee, and the new mail-in voting option.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (file photo courtesy of the Secretary of State’s office)

Due to COVID-19, the state Legislature passed Senate Bill 631 this year allowing all registered Missouri voters to mail in their ballot this year, if requested, and the ballot envelope must be notarized.

Absentee voters can cast a ballot without a notary if:
*Incapacitated or confined due to illness
*Having contracted the coronavirus or at-risk due to the following:
*Age 65 or older
*Living in a long term care facility
*Chronic lung disease/asthma
*Serious heart condition
*Liver disease
*Chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis

All other absentee voters will be required to get a notary.

During a visit with reporters in Jefferson City, Ashcroft says the governor signed an executive order allowing electronic notarization.

“If you follow those steps, then that notarization will meet the requirements under the law for ballots,” he says.

Ashcroft says the governor has signed another bill, HB 1655, into law about remote notary that will apply to the November election.

He says his office is working on a list of organizations that have agreed to provide notarization for free for mail-in and absentee ballots. The list will be updated as more Missouri notaries volunteer to help.

“It is against Missouri law for a notary to charge to notarize an absentee ballot,” says Ashcroft. “It is not against the law for a notary to charge to notarize a mail-in ballot.”

July 22 is the deadline to ask for an absentee ballot by mail for the August 4 election. Absentee ballots can be requested in person up until the day before Election Day. They must be turned in by mail or in person and received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Ashcroft says if voters have coronavirus concerns and would prefer to avoid going into the courthouse, some clerks might meet you at your car.

July 22 is also the deadline voters can deliver their application to their local election authority to request a mail-in ballot for the August 4 election. The ballot envelope must be notarized and returned through U.S. mail in time for its receipt on Election Day.

Ashcroft advises voters to turn in these requests as soon as possible.

“If you can’t tell, I’m really concerned about people that want to use one of these mail-in options having the time to get the ballot, fill it out and get it back in time so that their vote counts,” says Ashcroft.

Ashcroft pushed in-person voting. He says the safest way to vote and to ensure that your vote counts is by voting in person. Missouri has had two elections since the coronavirus began to grip the state in March and Ashcroft says there have not been any noted spread of the virus as a result of in-person voting.

“I fully believe that November will be the safest election people have participated in in Missouri, because we’ve had H1N1 or swine flu or other things before and we’ve never gone to the steps that local election authorities are doing with the physical distancing, with the face shields, with the face masks, with the plexiglass barriers that they’re putting up and with the distancing strips. They’re actually going to machines and disinfecting them between voters,” says Ashcroft.

Today is the last day to register to vote in Missouri’s August 4 election.

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