Lewis Diuguid

KC residents can submit absentee ballots for Missouri presidential primary

Carol Jeffery, from Swanzey, N.H., casts her ballot for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Swanzey, N.H. polling station during the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday
Carol Jeffery, from Swanzey, N.H., casts her ballot for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Swanzey, N.H. polling station during the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday The Associated Press

In the buildup to February, all election-related attention goes to Iowa, and then New Hampshire.

Sen. Ted Cruz surfaced in last week’s Iowa caucuses as the winner for the Republicans, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democrats. On Tuesday, New Hampshire voters cast ballots in the nation’s first presidential primary.

Lost in the campaigning and media noise is Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners Democratic Director Shelley McThomas advising area residents that absentee voting opened in Missouri on Feb. 2 for the March 15 presidential primary. Kansas City has 207,248 registered voters, which is not an insignificant number.

But March 15? That date is more than a month down the calendar. It doesn’t come up in the presidential caucus/primary schedule until the country has gotten past the February Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary.

Then there is Super Tuesday on March 1 with primaries in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Massachusetts, and caucuses in Alaska, Colorado, American Samoa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

On March 5 caucuses occur in Kansas, Kentucky, Maine (Republicans) and Nebraska. On March 6 Democrats in Maine have their caucus, and so does Puerto Rico.

On March 8 primaries occur in Idaho (Republicans), Michigan, Mississippi, and for Democrats abroad, and Hawaii has caucuses for Republicans. On March 12 Republicans in Guam have their convention, Democrats in Northern Marianas caucus and Washington, D.C., Republicans caucus.

Finally on March 15, primaries occur in Missouri, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Republicans in the Northern Marianas Islands caucus. The long list goes to mid-June, and no doubt political advertising fatigue will have set in among voters.

But McThomas wants voters to know that those who identify as members of the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Constitution parties may cast absentee ballots in person until 5 p.m. March 14 at the election board office, 30 W. Pershing Road, Suite 2800 in Union Station. The office opens at 8 a.m.

Ballots cast by mail must be received by the election board by 7 p.m. March 15. The mail-in voting application form is available online at www.kceb.org or by calling the election board at 816-842-4820, Ext. 225.

Election laws enable registered voters in Missouri to cast absentee ballots if they:

▪ Will be absent from their voting jurisdiction on Election Day.

▪ Are incapacitated or confined because of an illness or physical disability, or are caring for an incapacitated person.

▪ Are restricted by religious belief or practice.

▪ Are employed by an election authority.

▪ Are incarcerated but have retained all voting qualifications.

▪ Are Safe at Home program participants.

Otherwise, the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 15. People who have recently moved to the area have until Feb. 17 to register to be eligible to vote in the presidential primary in Missouri.

Voters who have moved since they last cast ballots can submit a change of address form by fax (816-221-3348) or mail (30 W. Pershing Road, Suite 2800, Kansas City, Mo. 64108) to the election board to receive a new voter identification card with the new polling place location.

Although it’s exhausting to keep up with the political banter, it’s important for the future of the country that people do their civic duty and vote.