What to expect when voting absentee in Missouri

Mail-in voting
Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 23:37:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Registered Missouri voters who would like to vote absentee or by mail have to request an application before Election Day.

For absentee ballots, the deadline depends on how voters request an application. Oct. 21 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail. Those who request an absentee ballot in-person can do so up until the day before Election Day.

Voters who live in Kansas City, Missouri, within Jackson County and opt to vote absentee will be voting on a different ballot than previous elections. Rather than using a “traditional paper ballot,” absentee voters will be given a blank ballot.

"[Voters] will feed into one of our ballot marking device machines," said Shawn Kieffer, Kansas City Board of Election director. "It will scan in their ticket that will tell them exactly what precinct they belong to and it will bring up their ballot. They will check how they want to vote and once they are done with all of their choices, this ballot will print out.”

The printed ballot will contain the names of the candidates the voters chose. If an error is made, Kieffer said voters can “spoil” the ballot and start over before casting it into another machine.

The reason the Kansas City Board of Elections is using blank ballots is to help with organization and avoid confusion. There are more than 100 variations of ballots due to different precincts and wards, according to Kieffer.

“Less confusion and plus this one costs .33 cents to do and this one costs me about 3 and a half cents," Kieffer said. "And I can reuse these from election to election. So there’s a cost savings too."

For mail-in ballots, the application deadline is Oct. 21.