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Options for Voting Before Election Day: Absentee Voting IN PERSON or BY MAIL

What Every Missouri Voter Needs to Know
(Download a print-ready informational card HERE.)

Except for two weeks of no-excuse in-person absentee voting right before Election Day, voters who need to vote before Election Day will need to have a reason for voting absentee.


Accepted Reasons for Voting Absentee

You can vote absentee before Election Day if you expect you could be

(choose ONE reason):

  • Outside your election jurisdiction on Election Day

  • Confined due to illness or disability or serving as a caretaker for someone in the same household who is confined due to illness or disability (NO NOTARY REQUIRED for ballot return envelope signature)

  • Working as an election worker, healthcare worker, first responder, or law enforcement;

  • Have a religious conflict

  • In jail (but still eligible)

  • In a specific address confidentiality program



Voters with disabilities can request PERMANENT ABSENTEE STATUS by filling out a special application with their local election authority. These voters will automatically receive an absentee ballot APPLICATION (not a ballot) before each election and must submit that application in order to get a ballot, but no notary will be required for the ballot return envelope. You can find contact information for your local election office contact info here.


No notary seal is required on the ballot return envelope for voters on permanent absentee status due to disability.


Planning Ahead: Missouri's Notary Requirement

Unless a voter uses a health- or disability-related reason for voting absentee, or is in jail but still eligible to vote, a voter planning to vote absentee by mail must also plan to sign the ballot return envelope in front of a notary public & have it notarized. Notaries should not charge a fee for this service.  Notaries are often available at libraries, banks, real estate offices, law offices, AAA, college or university administrative offices, and parcel shipping storefronts. 

Interested in becoming a notary public?  The Missouri Secretary of State's website outlines the process here.

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Absentee Voting IN PERSON

Voting Absentee In Person


Excuse-Based: Starting six weeks before Election Day, you can vote absentee in person at your local election authority if you have one of the reasons for voting absentee.  Bring a valid government-issued photo ID. (A list of IDs you can use for voting is available here.) You do not need to apply beforehand. You will provide your reason for voting absentee at the time you vote.

No Excuse Needed: Starting two weeks before Election Day, you can vote absentee in person without giving a reason. Voters will need to show a valid government-issued photo ID.

These options are only available to voters who have a valid government-issued photo ID.

Absentee Voting BY MAIL

Voting Absentee By Mail

APPLY for an absentee ballot by submitting an application to your local election authority by mail, in person, by email or via fax. You can find an application and contact information for your local election authority here.


The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 2 weeks before Election Day, but earlier is better. If you are a first-time voter in your jurisdiction, you may need to provide a copy of an ID with your application.


CAST the ballot and place it in the postage-paid envelope provided.


COMPLETE the form on the ballot envelope. 


SIGN the ballot envelope (in front of a notary if required). No notary seal is required on the ballot return envelope for voters on permanent absentee status due to disability or voters who are confined due to disability or illness or are caregivers for someone who is, but ALL OTHER ABSENTEE BY MAIL VOTERS must have their return ballot envelope notarized. Don't obscure or mark out any information on the return envelope, because this information is needed to verify your ballot.

RETURN your ballot to your election authority in person (a close relative can do this for you) or by mail.  Your ballot must be RECEIVED by the election authority no later than 7 pm on Election Day or it cannot be counted--no exceptions.  If you are using mail, try to mail your ballot at least 7-10 days before Election Day.

Voters Who Need Assistance


Voters have the right to assistance in casting an absentee ballot.  If someone assists you in filling out your absentee by mail ballot, that person must complete and sign the assistance statement provided on the outside of the ballot return envelope where indicated in order for the ballot to be accepted.


What If Something Goes Wrong?

If your ballot never arrives, gets lost or damaged, or is not received by your election authority before Election Day, you can still vote.


Don't have the ballot? You can complete a Lost Ballot Affidavit and vote absentee in person or via a regular (not provisional) ballot at the polls on Election Day.


Have the ballot? You can surrender your ballot at your polling place and vote in person. You cannot submit completed ballots at a polling place; you must return it to the election authority office or surrender the ballot at the poll & vote in person.


Still not sure what to do? Call or text the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE  for advice!

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