With pandemic and record number expected to vote, election workers urge absentee voters not to wait

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’re just 48 days away from the general election. This year there’s expected to be a record number of people voting by mail. 

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many people are rethinking heading to the polls in-person November 3.

“So far we’ve had over 10,000 mail-in/absentee requests at this point,” Kansas City Election Board’s Director of Elections, Shawn Kieffer said. 

Shawn Keiffer with the Kansas City Election Board expects more absentee and mail-in ballot requests in the coming weeks.

Kieffer expects more absentee and mail-in ballot requests in the coming weeks. 

“Just be patient with us. We’re very busy. Phones are very busy. We’re trying to get everything taken care of,” Kieffer said.

In Missouri, you can receive an absentee ballot for one of seven reasons, including being absent on election day and if you’re in a high-risk group for contracting COVID-19.

Governor Mike Parson signed a bill this summer, allowing all registered voters the option to request a mail-in ballot. 

Mail-in ballots have to be notarized and must be mailed back by 7pm on election night to be counted. People voting absentee can turn in their ballots in-person. 

“We’re confident that we’ll be able to give everybody their ballots. Get the ballots back and then counted,” Jackson County Election Board Director Corey Dillon said. 

Election workers are urging voters to not procrastinate this year. 

“You cannot always rely that the post office will get it in a day or two. So we’re thinking mailing it in as soon as possible, maybe up to a couple weeks early is probably the best move,” Kieffer said. 

In Missouri absentee voting starts next Tuesday. You have to apply for it no later than October 21. 

Kansas City and Jackson County aren’t the only enttities seeing an increase in mail-in ballot requests.

Clay County says its received 9,385 absentee and mail-in ballot requests.

In Kansas, the deadline to request a ball by mail is October 27.

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