The 2019 special election and 2020 primary election are fast approaching.

This year has the addition of a special election in Phelps County, as political subdivisions decided to place four issues on the November 2019 ballot.

Phelps County is joining Rolla and St. James in asking voters to decide on a local use tax measure in the off-year election, while Licking R-VIII School District is asking voters to decide on the ballot initiative calling for an increased school tax levy.

The deadline to register to vote in the November special election is Wednesday, Oct. 9. Phelps County currently has 28,129 registered voters, Phelps County Clerk Pamela Grow said.

“This is a moving target, of course. National Voting Rights Act of 1993 mandates that if people are not locatable at a physical address, through at least two federal elections, they are to be removed from the rolls,” Grow said. “We did that this spring, and it took our numbers down a bit.”

Phelps County had 28,633 registered voters in the 2012 November election. That number has steadily increased over the past years.

The number of registered voters in Phelps County for the past November elections was:

— November 2014, a total of 28,540 registered voters.

— November 2016, a total of 28,782 registered voters.

— November 2018, a total of 28,907 registered voters.

A voter’s physical location is essential, Grow said. Voting is tied to a physical spot, no matter how virtual a person is trying to be, an individual can’t vote in two school districts; an individual can only vote in the one in which they preside.

“We depend on the US Postal Service to keep us in touch with our voters. If your mailbox is torn down, or you never land in one place to get your mail, it’s going to be a problem keeping you on the voter rolls,” Grow said. “Of course, people have physical addresses and sometimes P.O. boxes; the system is able to handle that.”

The county follows state statute and absentee voters must complete a sworn statement explaining their reason for voting absentee. Absentee voting begins six weeks before the election on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Absentee voting may be done through the mail by submitting an absentee application to the County Clerk’s Office. Missouri law requires that mail in or faxed absentee ballot requests must be received by the election authority no later than 5 p.m. the second Wednesday prior to the election, which falls on Oct. 23, 2019.

Voters wishing to vote absentee must have their signature on the outside of the ballot envelope notarized or the ballot will be invalid. The exceptions to this requirement, Grow said, are absence due to membership in the uniformed services, being overseas such as with the foreign services, or voting absentee for a reason of incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including caring for such an individual pursuant to Missouri statutes.

Phelps County voters can vote by absentee in the County Clerk’s office, as walk-in absentees, during regular office hours beginning Sept. 24 and ending Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.; don’t forget an ID. Absentee voting in the County Clerk’s office will also be available for four hours, the Saturday before the election, on Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.