COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
Wednesday marks the final day of voter registration for Missouri's August primary election, which include more options for voters worried about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 631 into law in June. It allows for more absentee and mail-in voting options because of COVID-19.
The law also allows for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are at a greater risk for the virus to vote absentee.
Among those who are at risk of the worst complications of novel coronavirus are voters age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain existing health problems.
Any voter can also request a mail-in ballot. Anyone who chooses to do so must have their ballot notarized and returned by mail only unless they are incapacitated or confined because of an illness or physical disability.
Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon said there will be precautions taken at polling places, but she said she encourages people to do what they are comfortable with.
"Given the concerns that a lot of voters have and the trends that we are seeing moving in this pandemic, that we are now having to have face masks and things like that, I would always tell people to take precautions if they do have concerns," she said.
Whichever option voters choose, the decision has to come by July 22nd when applications for remote voting options are due.
"Based on what we saw from the June election, which had a rather low turnout, we still had a higher proportion of people who were voting by mail," Lennon said.
Mike Zweifel, the chair of the Boone County Republican Central Committee, said officials need to make sure that voting remains secure, even by mail.
"We just want to make sure there is no voter fraud, we're not anticipating any," he said. "But there was a case in 2016 in St. Louis where there was absentee voter fraud."
The Boone County Clerk's office said precautions have been put into place to avoid any sort of fraud.
"We make sure it is tied to an existing voter's record and that there's not any problems with that voter's record," Lennon said. "If there is any issue, we reach out directly and talk to the voter."
Lennon said her office expects about 50 percent voter turn out for the August primary, but also said there shouldn't be too much of a delay in the results, even with remote voting.
"Luckily, under Missouri's law, we can start processing absentee ballots that we've gotten back, five days before the elections," she said.
There is a full list of voting option and requirements on the Boone County Clerk's website.
Check back here or watch ABC 17 News at 6 to hear from election experts about how these options could change the August election.