KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whether you’re a first-time voter or a seasoned pro, there’s a lot of information to make sure you’re up-to-date before the primary election on Aug. 2.

If you’re heading to the polls in Missouri, check out FOX4’s Primary Election Day guide before you go to make sure you’re prepared.

How to preview your ballot

Make sure you’re familiar with all races and questions on your ballot before you head to the polls.

In Missouri, visit the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Center website and enter your address. It will provide you with the candidates and issues on your ballot.

You can even fill out and take your sample ballot with you to your polling place to help as you fill out the official ballot.

Absentee voting

Missouri allows absentee voting, starting June 21, in person or by mail.

The state says residents can vote absentee if they:

  • Will be absent from your voting jurisdiction on Election Day.
  • Are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability, or caring for an incapacitated person.
  • Are restricted by religious belief or practice.
  • Are employed by an election authority.
  • Are incarcerated, but have retained all your voting qualification.
  • Are a participant in the Missouri SAFE at home program.

You don’t need to submit an application to vote absentee in person, but you do need to bring acceptable ID needed to vote. Most in-person absentee voting is done at your local election board or county clerk’s office and must be completed by 5 p.m. the night before the election.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail has already passed for the primary ballot. But if you requested and received one, Missouri requires that all ballots must be notarized (except those submitted by an incapacitated or confined voter), signed and received by the election board by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee ballots received after that won’t be counted.

How to find your polling location

Election officials are urging voters to double check their polling place before heading off to vote.

In Missouri, voters can also visit the Secretary of State’s website to find their polling location. Just enter your address, and the site will tell you where to go to cast your vote.

When do polls open and close?

Under Missouri law, all polls open at 6 a.m. on Aug. 2 and close at 7 p.m.

As long as you are in line by the time poll locations close, you are legally allowed to vote. Don’t get out of line. But if you arrive after they close, you will not be allowed to cast your ballot.

What to bring to vote

You’ll need some form of identification — like a driver’s license, passport or even a college ID — to cast your ballot. But it’s important to know what qualifies as voter identification in Missouri.

Here are the acceptable IDs for registered voters, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office:

  • Identification issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state, or a local election authority of the state;
  • Identification issued by the United States government or agency thereof;
  • Identification issued by an institution of higher education, including a university, college, vocational and technical school, located within the state of Missouri; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter.

If you don’t have any of these ID forms with you, you can cast a provisional ballot. As long as your signature matches the one on your voter registration, your vote will still count.

What to do and not to do

After you’ve waited in line and shown the election worker your ID, it’s time to head to a voting booth and cast your vote. You’ll either get a paper ballot, or in many counties these days, you can fill out your ballot on an electronic voting machine.

If you fill out a paper ballot, make sure to completely fill in the circle next to the candidate or issue your selecting. No checkmarks or X’s.

As you’re filling out your ballot, you might be filled with a sense of pride and want the social media world to know. But depending on what state you live in, it’s not always legal to take a picture in the voting booth.

In Missouri, you can’t share your ballot after it’s been marked — it’s actually a misdemeanor. So the Secretary of State strongly discourages taking a photo of yourself voting. Taking a picture inside or outside the polling place is fine though, as long as you’re not disrupting anyone else’s privacy.

Who is running for U.S. Senate in Missouri?

With Republican Sen. Roy Blunt retiring, Missourians will elect a new senator to represent them in Washington D.C. this year.

There are 34 candidates running for U.S. Senate in the primary — 21 Republicans, 11 Democrats, one Libertarian and one Constitution candidate. Four Independent candidates are also vying for the seat, but they will not be included in the primary, only the general election.

Republican candidates:

Democratic candidates:

Libertarian candidate:

Constitution candidate:

  • Paul Venable – Lincoln

Blunt, for his part, has not thrown his weight behind any candidate at this point. Back in April, he told FOX4 he wants to make sure the Republican Party selects someone in August that can win in November.

Other big races

While the U.S. Senate race is getting a lot of attention, Missourians will see a few other federal and statewide races on the ballot on Aug. 2.

In the Kansas City area, voters will decide who represents three Missouri congressional districts.

In the 4th district, seven candidates — Jim Campbell, Rick Brattin, William Irwin, Mark Alford, Kalena Bruce, Taylor Burks and Kyle LaBrue — will be on the Republican primary. Whoever advances will face unopposed Democrat Jack Truman and Libertarian Randy Langkraehr.

In Missouri’s 5th district, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II is vying for his 10th term in the House. He’ll face Maite Salazar in the Democratic primary.

Meanwhile, on the Republican ballot, three candidates hope to get enough votes to advance — Jerry Barham, Herschel Young and Jacob Turk. Libertarian Robin Dominick is uncontested in the primary.

In the 6th district, Congressman Sam Graves also hopes voters will reelect him once again. But first, he’ll face a slew of Republican challengers: Brandon Kleinmeyer, Dakota Shultz, John Dady and Christopher Ryan.

On the Democratic side, three candidates are facing off. Henry Martin, Charles West and Michael Howard are hoping to take Graves’ 6th district seat. Libertarian Edward Maidment is uncontested in the primary.

Finally, with Nicole Galloway not running for reelection, voters across the state will cast their ballot for the next Missouri auditor.

Current state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick will face state Rep. David Gregory in the Republican primary. Whoever GOP voters chose will face former Democratic state lawmaker Alan Green and Libertarian John Hartwig who are both running unopposed, in the general election.

FOX4 will share Missouri and Kansas primary election results after polls close Aug. 2 on air and on fox4kc.com.

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