Absentee voting can be a headache for college students

Kynslie Otte

Just before every election, parents, teachers, government officials and even celebrities stress the importance of voting. However, they don’t explain how confusing the process can be for inexperienced voters –especially those who aren’t living in the city/county in which they are registered to vote.

Acquiring and appropriately filling out an absentee ballot can be a headache, as it requires much more work than simply going to the polls, and absentee requirements are different for almost every state.

In Missouri, absentee ballots are provided if voters offer one (or more) of the following reasons: absence from the jurisdiction of the election authority where a person is registered to vote, incapacity due to physical illness or disability, religious beliefs or practice or employment as an election authority or incarceration, as long as the individual is qualified to vote.

The concept of absentee voting is sensible and seemingly convenient, but figuring out where one’s “appropriate local election authority” is to obtain the ballot, or even figuring out what an “appropriate local election authority” is can also be confusing without proper guidance.

Additionally, for voters in Missouri who have never voted in person before, the absentee ballot request must also include one form of valid identification and fulfill a notary requirement that is not clearly explained on the Secretary of State website.

In Missouri, all of this must be done no later than 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before any given election, and the actual absentee ballot must be turned in no later than 5 p.m. the night before the election.

Because I am registered to vote roughly one hour away from Kansas City, I thought it might be wise to fill out an absentee ballot for this election.

After researching the absentee voter process, I changed my mind. For those of you who are planning to vote this Tuesday, make sure you are aware of your city/county’s voting regulations to avoid hassles.

For more information about voting, visit your home state’s Secretary of State website. The Missouri website is www.sos.mo.gov.

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