How to Vote in Missouri

FT Contributor
A man placing his vote in a ballot box with the Missouri state flag in the background.
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Exercising your right to vote is one of the foundations of our democracy. If you live in Missouri, and you’ve never voted there before, here is important information you need to know about registering and casting your ballot.

How to Register to Vote in Missouri

Missouri residents can register to vote online, by mail, or in person. To register online, visit the voter registration page and complete the application. You can also download a voter registration form for your county by clicking the link for Print and Mail Your Application.

If you are registering to vote by mail, your registration must be postmarked by the fourth Wednesday before the election. For the November general election, this means you must mail your voter registration by October 7, 2020. If you cannot download an application, you can request to have one mailed to you. Keep in mind that mailed applications take three to five days to arrive.

If you opt to register in person, you can do so at your county clerk’s office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or any state agency that provides services to the public, such as the Department of Health and Human Services.

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen;
  • A resident of Missouri;
  • At least 17½, and turning 18 before Election Day.

When you register, you’ll receive a voter identification card that indicates your polling place. If your assigned polling location changes, you’ll receive a new card in the mail.  

Am I Registered to Vote in Missouri?

To confirm your voter registration in Missouri, visit the Check Your Voter Registration page on the Secretary of State’s website. Enter your name, street address, birth date, and county exactly as you did when you registered. You’ll then be able to view your registration status, as well as find more information about your polling place, see a sample ballot, and learn more about the issues and candidates.

Early Voting in Missouri

Missouri does not currently offer early voting in person. However, residents can vote absentee up to 42 days before Election Day if they request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots can be cast in person at your county election authority office up to one day prior to the election.

Absentee ballot requests may be made via mail or fax. Missouri requires voters to provide a valid reason for requesting an absentee ballot, including:

  • Not being in your jurisdiction on Election Day;
  • Incapacitation due to illness or injury;
  • Religious beliefs of practices;
  • Incarceration, if you are still eligible to vote;
  • Employment by the election authority somewhere other than your home district;
  • You are part of the state’s address confidentiality program due to safety concerns.

Also, if you have never voted in person in Missouri, you must include a copy of acceptable identification as listed on the application. Requests must be received no later than 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday prior to the election. The deadline for the November 3 general election is October 21, 2020.

Completed ballots must be signed by a witness or notary, and returned to the local election authority. Ballots include a pre-addressed return envelope for your county.

Voting in Missouri on Election Day

When you register to vote, you’ll receive instructions about where to cast your ballot. You can also confirm your polling place online, on the Secretary of State’s Check Your Voter Registration page, or by using your address only on the state’s Voter Outreach Center.

The Voter Outreach Center is updated by local election authorities, so the state recommends confirming your location with the local county clerk or board of elections before heading out to vote. All Missouri polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election days. If you are waiting in line at 7 p.m., you will still be allowed to vote, but you cannot join the line after that time.

To cast your vote, you must show identification and sign the poll book. Acceptable identification includes:

  • A Missouri ID issued by the state, a state agency, or the election authority (such as a driver’s license or a voter identification card);
  • An ID issued by the federal government (such as a passport or military ID);
  • A student ID from a school located in Missouri;
  • An official document, such as a utility bill, mortgage statement, or pay stub, that shows your name and address.

Why Voting Is Important

Voting is an important civic duty, and allows you to have your voice be heard on important issues, including state taxes, bond questions, social programs, and minimum wage requirements. Not all elections determine who goes to Washington, D.C.; in fact, the majority of elections influence what happens in your community and state. Therefore, it’s important to learn about the issues and let your voice be heard on Election Day.

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