How to register for mail-in ballots

October 25, 2022

For students, voting while still in school can be difficult. Some may be across the country, or just not in the right district of their state to vote. This can cause students to not want to vote, or to feel like they can’t. 

Absentee ballots, also called mail-in ballots, are a key element for many college students when it comes to exercising their civic right to vote.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s webpage lays out the process, and options for citizens of the state to vote absentee. 

To avoid your ballot being thrown out, it is important to remember to include the necessary documents.

The first option given is a “no-excuse absentee ballot”, using this method, you may request to vote in person at a location determined by a local authority within two weeks of the set election date. 

Students may also request a mail-in absentee ballot. If they have not voted in person before, they must first be registered by mail, before requesting a ballot. Once completed, the ballot has to be mailed or faxed, to the correct election authority before 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday before the election. 

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office provides this list giving reasons which are deemed acceptable for voting absentee. 

  1. Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote;
  2. Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability on election day, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability and resides at the same address; 
  3. Religious belief or practice;
  4. Employment as an election authority or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place, a first responder, a health care worker, or a member of law enforcement;
  5. Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retained.
  6. Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns.
  7. To avoid your ballot being thrown out, it is important to remember to include the necessary documents.

For first time, by mail voters, it is required to submit a copy of their personal identification, unless they provide a copy with their registration papers. Acceptable forms of identification include 

“A non-expired Missouri driver or non-driver license; A non-expired military ID, including a veteran’s ID card; A non-expired United States passport; or another photo ID issued by the United States or the state of Missouri which is either not expired or expired after the date of the most recent general election.”

Another resource students from any state can access is provided by This tool helps people request ballots from any state. For more help requesting absentee ballots, you can also look up your state’s secretary of state, and find state-specific information on their website. 

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