As I prepare this report, Americans are less than one week away from exercising one of their most precious liberties, casting a ballot on Election Day. Here in Missouri we will cast our votes for president and a member of Congress, elect five of our six statewide office holders, select men and women to represent us in the State Legislature and choose the people who administer our local governments. We’ll also decide a number of important constitutional issues and local ballot questions. I encourage everyone to take this responsibility seriously, research the issues and candidates and go to the polls to express your views on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
In Missouri, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone in line before the polls close will be allowed to vote. Members of the military and Missouri residents located abroad who are registered through the Military and Overseas Voting Access Portal have until noon, Friday, Nov. 6, to submit ballots.
If you’re voting in-person, I encourage you to arrive as early as possible and be prepared for delays. Remember to bring an ID with you, as you’ll need to show it before casting your ballot. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, state or U.S. government ID card, a voter identification card from your local election authority or a student ID from a Missouri institution of higher learning. If you don’t have any of those, a utility bill, bank statement, paystub or government document that bears your name and address will also suffice.
Senate Bill 631, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, created new voting options for elections held in 2020. Any registered voter could request a mail-in ballot through Oct. 21. The list of criteria for absentee voting was also expanded. In addition to traditional excuses – such as absence from the voting district on Election Day – voters can request an absentee ballot due to concerns over COVID-19. Anyone age 65 or older, as well as those diagnosed with serious medical conditions that increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus, can cast an absentee ballot at their county clerk’s office through Nov. 2.
You can find more information about absentee ballots and voting alternatives for those with disabilities, see a sample ballot for your jurisdiction, or learn the location of your polling place by visiting the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/howtovote.
I believe this year’s election is the most important election in decades. The decisions we will make on Nov. 3 will affect this state and nation for many years to come. With all the new voting options in Missouri this year, it’s never been easier to cast a ballot. I encourage everyone to do their civic duty and vote.
It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.