Absentee voting options expanded for upcoming elections

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor


Kansas Citians will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the Aug. 4 Primary Election for many local, statewide and nationwide offices.


Votes will be cast for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, U.S. Representative for District 5, State Senators for Districts 7, 9 and 11, State Representatives for Districts 19, 22- 30, 35-37 and 56, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney, Jackson County Sheriff, Committeemen for Wards 1-20 and 22-26, Committeewomen for Wards 1-20 and 22-26.


July 8 is the last day to register to vote in the Aug. 4 Primary election. Kansas City, within Jackson County, has 213,914 registered voters out of an estimated population of 495,327.


Absentee and mail-in voting began on June 23. The deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot is 5 p.m. on July 22. It can be requested up to 10 weeks before an election. Completed mail-in ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Aug. 4. All mail-in ballots must be notarized, except those submitted by an incapacitated or confined voter.


In-person absentee voting begins six weeks before each election and is available at the Election Board absentee office in Union Station Suite 2800 on Level B. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and the Saturday before each election from 8 a.m. to noon. It ends at 5 p.m. on Aug. 3.


The State of Missouri allows absentee voting under the following conditions: for voters who will be absent from their voting jurisdiction on Election Day; are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability, or caring for an incapacitated person; are restricted by religious belief or practice; are employed by an election authority; are incarcerated, but have retained all your voting qualification; are a participant in the Missouri SAFE at home program.


An additional condition was added due to COVID-19. Absentee voting is now allowed for those who have contracted or are in an at-risk category for contracting or transmitting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.


The State of Missouri classifies at-risk voters as those 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility, having a serious heart condition, being immunocompromised, having a liver disease, having a chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, having chronic kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis, or having diabetes.


In Missouri, photo identification is not required to vote. Accepted identification include Missouri driver or non-driver license, U.S. passport, military ID, voter ID card, a recent bank statement, utility bill, government check, paycheck or other government document showing a voter’s name and address.


COVID-19 has changed many aspects of daily life and has created uncertainty in the future. For voters who are hospitalized or confined due to illness or injury before the election, absentee teams are available to deliver, witness and return absentee applications and ballots.


The Kansas City Election Board is hiring election day employees in several categories. Kansas City will offer its employees up to two paid days off to work at polling locations.


Council members voted 10-1 in favor of legislation introduced by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, allowing city employees to work up to two election days per year and be paid for regular eight-hour workdays. This will be in addition to any pay provided by the election board.


“It will help people vote: vote faster, with greater ease, and to make everyone’s voices heard this November and beyond,” Lucas said in a statement after the decision.


Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.


For those experiencing voter suppression or intimidation, reports can be made to the Department of Justice, the Kansas City Election Board, or hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE for English or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish.
Check back in Northeast News for candidate profiles and a sample ballot in upcoming issues.

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