Absentee voting begins in Missouri, keeping local election officials busy

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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. — This election season is busier than usual for election boards in the metro. 

“We’ve been pretty much non-stop since July,” Platte County Board of Elections Director Chris Hershey said. 

Absentee voting starting in Missouri on Tuesday. To vote absentee, you must meet one of several requirements, including being out of town on election day, having an illness or disability that prevents you from getting to the polls or being at a high risk for contracting COVID-19. 

Hershey said most people in the county who’ve chosen to vote early want to avoid long lines in November. But he said Tuesday morning, the parking lot was full of people ready to cast their ballots. 

“Absentee requests so far already match the total number of absentees that we had in 2016,” Hershey said. 

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Chiefs star Tyrann Mathieu was targeting people who aren’t registered to vote by hosting a voter registration drive. 

Mathieu and other Chiefs players have been vocal about getting people involved in the election process this year.

“Especially being a young Black man in America — whether it’s your opinion or not, if it matters of not — I’ve grown to realize that we all can chip in. We all can put our hand in the pile and really make it better,” Mathieu said. 

As for workers at the Platte County election board, they’re trying to ensure everything runs smoothly between now and Nov. 3.

“Already this morning we’ve had several people come in who had requested a mail-in ballot. Then they came to vote today,” Hershey said. “That’s a situation that we can handle. We cancel their mail-in ballot. If they were to return that, we would just not check it in.”

Absentee voters who don’t cast their ballot in person and don’t have a health or COVID-19 excuse — for example, those out of town or working as a poll worker — need their ballot notarized.

Missouri voters can also choose to vote by mail without needing any excuse. All mail-in ballots must be notarized, however. Here is a list of places will will notarize for free.

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