During the COVID crisis our Executive Director Krista Stark can be reached on her direct cell number 417-437-8443. Our offices are inside the Laborers Hall in Joplin and are currently closed to the public. #SWMODems staff and volunteers are working from home and Krista can be reached about general Democratic questions, information about absentee or mail-in voting, yard sign requests, and information about how to volunteer in a COVID-safe manner for our Democratic candidates on her direct line.
There are differences between “Absentee” and “Mail-In” voting in MO, and a whole lot of intentional hurdles in the law to confuse people and make it harder for folks to vote, including that people CANNOT simply drop off “Mail-In” ballots instead of mailing them. Please be careful sharing info on voting that may be incorrect. We have seen several posts on social media that give details which may be correct in other states… but are not part of the Missouri Statute for voting this year. We must be careful to not confuse folks with advice which could accidentally spoil their ballot and disenfranchise their vote.
NOTE: It is especially important to use the correct wording when requesting your 2020 Ballot. If you are 65 or over or have a CDC listed risk factor for COVID (option 7) or are homebound due to illness (option 2) make sure to request an “ABSENTEE” BALLOT.
Only request a “MAIL IN” Ballot if none of the “Absentee” options apply to your situation. And Remember Mail In ballots must be notarized and must be returned through USPS to arrive no later than 7 PM on Election Day Tuesday 11/3/2020.
Our SWMO Area County Clerk Offices:
OPTION 1: VOTE IN PERSON — Absentee at the County Clerk’s office or at your polling place on November 3, 2020
Voting in person does not rely on mail. Voting in person does not have multiple steps, risk potential delays, or risk missing information that could invalidate a ballot. You can certainly vote in person on Election Day your usual way. We cannot guarantee that your poll workers will be wearing masks or that fellow voters will be doing so. Our area does not currently have ordinances that require them to do so. So if you vote in person on election day please wear a filtered mask and pay attention to physical distancing from others, as best you can.
If you feel unsafe voting on Election Day, or are concerned you’ll be unavailable to vote, the best alternative is to try to vote “Absentee” in person. In person “Absentee” voting is available at your County Clerk’s office from September 22nd to November 2nd . You don’t have to request anything in advance, you don’t have to worry about finding a notary, and you check whichever absentee excuse best fits your situation. Voting “Absentee” early at your County Clerk’s offices feels much like voting on Election Day, but without the crowd.
Our area County Clerk’s offices are all open weekdays for Early “Absentee” voting beginning September 22, 2020. The local hours of operation are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday to Friday each week and on the Saturday before the election 10/31/20 from either 8 AM to 12 PM or from 9 AM to 1 PM. Contact your County Clerk’s office for details about the office locations for voting in that county and for the specific hours they are open.
OPTION 2: “ABSENTEE” by mail
There are seven legitimate excuses for absentee voting in Missouri in 2020.
If you absolutely don’t feel safe voting in person (even early), but are 65 or older years of age or have a CDC listed comorbidity for COVID (excuse 7) or are homebound due to illness (excuse 2), the best alternative is to vote “absentee” by mail; with these two excuses a notary is not required. When you receive your ballot be sure the notary section is marked out by your clerk. If not please call the Clerk’s office directly.
All other excuses for “Absentee” ballots require notarization.
When requesting a “Absentee” ballot follow these steps:
- The best way to obtain your form to get your ballot is to call your county Clerk’s office directly to begin the process.
Our SWMO Area County Clerk Offices:
2. You will receive your request form in the mail. If you do not receive it by 5 working days after your call, please call your Clerk directly to check on the form.
3. Make sure you complete all portions of the form immediately and mail it back to your County Clerk’s office.
4. If you choose this method and rely on the USPS (United States Postal Service), we encourage you to request the absentee ballot as early as possible. On the application, you’ll have to make sure you fill out every part of the form, including a reason for voting absentee.
5. If you do not receive your ballot and envelope from the Clerk within 7 working days, please call your Clerk directly to follow up.
6. As soon as you receive your ballot, complete it and return it immediately. Make sure to sign your envelope on the signature line provided before mailing back to the Clerk’s office. If you use an “Absentee” excuse other than #2 or #7 make sure you obtain a notary of your signature on the ballot envelope.
Unlike “Mail in” ballots, “Absentee” ballots may be returned by:
– Any Mailing Service (United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx) (registered carriers). Ballots must arrive at your County Clerk’s office no later than 7 PM on Election Day Nov. 3, 2020. If you mail your ballot please do so NO LATER than 2 full weeks before Election Day.
– In person inside your Clerk’s office
– In person by your designated 1st or 2nd degree relative inside your Clerk’s office
**If you planned to mail your absentee ballot, but don’t receive your ballot soon enough or otherwise run out of time, please take your ballot and envelope to your County Clerk in person. They can help you vote.
Option 3: No-excuse “Mail In”
If you are unwilling to vote in person, and none of the “Absentee” options apply to your situation, you can request a “Mail In” ballot.
- The best way to obtain your form to get your ballot is to call your County Clerk’s office directly to begin the process.
Our SWMO Area County Clerk Offices:
2. If you’re a first time voter and registered by mail, you may also have to include proof of address like a copy of your ID or a utility bill when requesting the “Mail In” ballot.
3. Make sure you complete all portions of the form immediately and mail it back to your County Clerk’s office. If you do not receive your form within 5 working days after your request, please call your County Clerk directly to check on the status of your form.
4. If you choose this method you MUST use the United States Postal Service, per statute. We encourage you to request the “Mail In” ballot as early as possible. On the ballot request application, you’ll have to make sure you fill out every part of the form and mail it back right away.
5. After you mail your ballot request if you do not receive your ballot and envelope from the Clerk within 7 working days, please call your Clerk directly to follow up.
6. As soon as you receive your ballot, complete it and return it immediately, after signing the envelope in front of your notary, mail it back to your county Clerk’s office. “Mail In”ballots MUST be returned through the USPS (United States Post Office), this is clear in the 2020 “Mail In” voting statute. “Mail In” ballots must be delivered by USPS to the County Clerk’s office by no later than 7 PM on Election Day, Tuesday 11/3/20.
Check with Southwest Missouri Democrats about free notary options if you can not obtain a free ballot notary at your local bank branch.
Unfortunately, the way our state statute was passed makes the MO voting process complicated to explain and to comprehend. We object to the obstacles put in place by the wording of this law. We hoped for better COVID safe options and our Democrats in #MOLeg tried to pass a better bill. They are outnumbered by Republicans; this is the situation we find ourselves in. We hope we can help you understand the statute and exercise your right to VOTE.
Written by Southwest Missouri Democrats: this has been developed after review of the state statutes pertaining to voting in MO in 2020 and in consultation with the Clerk’s office in each of our 6 Area County SWMO Democrats umbrella area. We have spoken with them about the statutes and about practices our voters will encounter with voting in 2020 in: Barry, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton counties.
Effective Wed. 3/18/20
COVID-19 Guidance from the CDC currently (3/18/20) recommends cancelling all large gatherings. Democrats will rely on science to try to help #FlattenTheCurve in this health crisis. ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS of SWMO Democrats are cancelled until further notice.
Per SWMO Dems Board decision and MDP Suggested Guidelines… Effective at 3 PM Wed. 3/18/20 our office will be closed to Volunteers and our Staff will be set to work from home procedures for the duration of the COVID-19 situation.
If you wish to make Voter ID Calls from home call Krista at 417-347-8443 to have further Voter ID Lists emailed. We thank all members of #TeamBlue for your work and flexibility during this time.
All Large in Person Meetings of Southwest Missouri Democrats CANCELLED until further notice.
Democrats trust science and in line with this ideal, given the developments in our state and nation surrounding the COVID-19 situation, Southwest Missouri Democrats is following the CDC’s recommendations on social distancing. We will update as to when we can resume normal #SWMODems activities as details are available.
From the Center for Disease Control… https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
Americans should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. The community can take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Currently a vaccine or drug is not available for COVID-19. Community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19.Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.
Decisions about the implementation of community measures will be made by local and state officials, in consultation with federal officials as appropriate, and based on the scope of the outbreak and the severity of illness. Implementation will require extensive community engagement, with ongoing and transparent public health communications.
Congratulations to our “Wind’s of Change” Trivia Winners Team #BlueWave on snagging the #SWMODems Traveling Trophy at our Feb. Trivia competition 2/23/20.
Family Values #VoteBlueForOurFuture
Congrats to SWMO Democrats 2019 Miss and Mr. Cutie Pie! Introducing: Holland LeeAnn and Mykah Lee. Our 2020 Cutie Pies will be crowned at our June Pie Auction event.
Additional thanks to our 2018 Miss Cutie Pie, Paisley Rose for fundraising again this year, we are happy to have her as part of our Cutie Pie Court for a second year.
Southwest Missouri Democrats TV Ads
Click on this link to watch our 2018 TV ad.