KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly 1,500 voters are casting early absentee ballots every day in Kansas City, Missouri, a number that is expected to increase as Election Day draws closer.
The KCMO Election Board opened four satellite voting locations for early in-person absentee voting last week, giving those voters allowed to vote early more options for filling out a ballot in advance of the Nov. 3 general election. The locations will remain open through Oct. 30.
Shawn Kieffer, who serves as the Republican Director for the Kansas City Election Board, said approximately 100 people per day are voting at each of the satellite locations, where lines haven’t been very long.
There are roughly 1,100 people voting early in-person absentee per day at the main office in Union Station, where wait times have seldom been more than 15 minutes, according to Kieffer.
Beginning in late September, voters who qualify for advance in-person absentee voting have had the option to show up at the KC Election Board office inside Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, and cast a ballot.
The four satellite locations opened Oct. 13 and will remain open through Oct. 30, which is the Friday before Election Day. Those additional locations are:
- Gregory Hills Church of God, 7020 James A. Reed Road;
- United Believers Community Church, 5600 E. 112th Terrace;
- The Whole Person, 3710 Main Street;
- Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, 3700 Blue Parkway.
Satellite locations, including the polling place inside Union Station’s Innovation Room, are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The only exception is that The Whole Person site closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The location inside Union Station also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2. The four satellite locations are not open on Halloween or the day before the election.
Anyone over the age of 65 or with a preexisting health condition that makes them susceptible to complications from COVID-19 — including those with breathing problems, diabetes, heart conditions, kidney issues and other health challenges — is permitted to vote absentee for the Nov. 3 election.
People who are incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability also may vote absentee in Missouri.
There are five other groups — voters who will be out of town, in jail but with voting rights, employed as a poll worker, have a religious conflict or are part of the witness protection program — who are permitted to vote absentee, including the early in-person option at the five aforementioned locations.
Absentee ballots also can be mailed into an individual's local election office, but those ballots must be notarized in some instances.
Voters older than 65 or with the stipulated health conditions do not have to have their ballot notarized, but voters in the other five groups are required to have their ballot notarized.
For early in-person absentee voters, a poll worker will witness the voter sign the ballot and perform another ID check in lieu of notarization, according to Kieffer.
Only registered voters who live in KCMO can vote at these locations.
Jackson County voters who live outside KCMO can vote in-person absentee from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday from now until Election Day at 110 N. Liberty Street in Independence.
Every mail-in ballot, which is different from an absentee ballot and any voter in Missouri can request for the upcoming election, must be notarized.
Voters must complete an application and deliver it in-person or by mail to their local election office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 21.
After receiving a mail-in ballot, voters must get the ballot notarized and return it by mail in the envelope provided by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
A federal judge ruled that Missouri voters should be allowed to drop off mail-in ballots at their local election office, but the state appealed ruling and the requirement to return the ballot by mail stands for now.