If you plan to cast a vote in the Missouri primary election this year make sure to register by Wednesday, July 11 by 5 p.m.

If you made the deadline and you meet the requirements, then absentee ballots are available starting Tuesday, June 26 in Phelps County Clerk Pam Grow’s office, located in the Phelps County Court House.

Currently, there are 25,124 active voters in the county compared to 7,735 active voters in the August 2014 primary election, and of the 7,735 active voters, 479 were absentee ballots.

“Absentee voting generally occurs for six weeks prior to every election, and concludes at the close of the business day prior,” said Phelps County Clerk Pam Grow.

If you are in the county on Election Day, you should vote at your polling place — hospitalization is a different matter, Grow noted.

Voters must sign the outside of the absentee ballot envelope in the presence of a notary unless hospitalized.

Voters must keep in mind that other blanks on the envelope should be completed, since leaving information off of the envelope may invalidate the ballot.

Absentee voting in Missouri is for one of the following reasons, according to Phelps County Clerk Pam Grow, per Missouri Legislature:

—Absence from the jurisdiction on Election Day.

— Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability; including being the primary caregiver for someone who is incapable or confined due to an illness or a physical disability.

— Religious belief or practice.

— Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place.

— Incarceration provided all qualifications for voting are retained.

— Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.6660 to 589.681 in Missouri State Statutes because of safety concerns — known as the ‘Safe at Home’ program, for domestic violence or abuse victims.

What you should know about Walk-in Absentees and Absentees by Mail

According to Phelps County Clerk Pam Grow:

For Absentees by Mail, voters, or a relative within the second degree of consanguinity (descended from the same ancestor) or affinity (marriage as opposed to blood ties), may pick up an absentee application from the county clerk office or print the form off of the Phelps County website, phelpscounty.org  and click ‘Read More’ under ‘Elections'.

Look for the red, ‘Primary Election Absentee Application’ to get the form.  This may be hand-delivered, mailed or faxed, by the voter themselves or relatives as specified above. 

The voter must sign the application since it’s a primary, and the voter must select a party — this must be specified on the application, or there will be a delay.

Voters may specify a non-partisan ballot; in Phelps County, this will only consist of Proposition A. The ballot must be requested by the Wednesday prior, which is August 1, 2018.

Absentees are not tabulated (cast) through the machine until the afternoon of the day of the election. 

Grow notes, with the passage of new laws, that election authorities have the option to begin having those ballots ‘cast’ through a ballot-reading machine with the start of absentee voting.

Counting absentee votes generated over a six-week period produces a miniature count of the election and Grow believes this data should be protected as vigorously as possible.

Not generating the data at all is a way of keeping it protected.   The absentee ballots will be held in their sealed envelopes, as has been done in the past, only to be handled by the bipartisan teams of election judges on Election Day.

For Walk-in Absentees, voters may walk into the office when the Phelps County Courthouse opens at 8 a.m. until closing time at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The exception is the Saturday prior to the election, when the Phelps County Courthouse opens at 8 a.m. to noon for walk-in absentees on August 4 for this election.

The deadline to vote absentee in the County Clerk's office is Monday, Aug. 6. In compliance with election law, you must request a ballot by Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.

Absentee ballots must be mailed before the 5 p.m. deadline.