Missouri sees thousands of new voters register ahead of Election Day

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Posted at 9:04 AM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 13:55:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of people registering to vote in Missouri is surging as the general election approaches.

Wednesday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register in order to vote on Nov. 3.

Elections leaders say there are several reasons to register beyond this being the first time voting.

Across the Kansas City area, elections offices have seen thousands of people register since July. 41 Action News obtained the number of registered voters for jurisdictions around Kansas City from the Missouri Secretary of State.

That data shows a spike in the number of new registrations in September for Platte, Clay, Jackson counties and the portion of Kansas City within Jackson County.

Jackson County (excluding Kansas City) had roughly 4,500 new registrations in September, compared to 2,500 in August.

The part of Kansas City located in Jackson County had nearly 7,000 people register to vote in September. About 2,000 registered in August.

Clay County saw about 5,000 new registrations in September, and 1,000 in August. The data shows a similar jump in Platte County where 2,500 people registered in September, compared to 800 in August.

A spokesperson from the Secretary of State’s office said it’s typical to see a bump in the number of new voter registrations ahead of a presidential election. Local elections leaders say some of the numbers include people who have always been registered within their jurisdiction, but moved to a new address or changed their name.

“It’s democracy, you’re supposed to vote. People died to vote, sacrificed a lot just to vote,” explained Rick Richards, a Kansas City man who voted early.

Steve Kee is a member of a fraternity that hosted roughly 10 voter registration drives leading up to Wednesday's deadline. He said it’s important to vote.

“It’s wonderful, it’s a beautiful thing. Our parents fought for the right to vote and to be able to come out and do it, I had to do it,” Kee explained.

As for people who are already registered to vote, a record number of them are choosing to vote absentee or with a mail-in ballot.

Elections leaders in Platte, Clay and Jackson counties say they’ve already received more requests for absentee and mail-in ballots than in 2016. Kansas City’s elections leaders expect to send double the number of absentee and mail-in ballots this year compared to 2016.

For information on how to register to vote, visit 41 Action News' election guide.