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Recent rulings that Texas' voting laws discriminate put pressure on the state, but the road ahead is long
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 01:00

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to address the discriminatory issues found with the voter ID law. But Democrats say it falls short of meeting the standards that a district court set last year.

Plaintiffs want District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi to consider throwing out the law after the legislative session and returning the state to the federal government's "pre-clearance" list.

But even if that happened, the Texas attorney general's office would almost certainly challenge the decision in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. ...

The parties in the [redistricting] case are set to meet in San Antonio on Thursday. The three-judge panel will hear updates on whether a trial is needed and what a timeline for the rest of the case might look like.

But the panel has moved slowly and methodically throughout the case for over six years. It is unlikely to grant the plaintiffs' requests — for new congressional maps for the 2018 elections and federal oversight — before tackling other remaining issues, such as whether the 2013 interim maps were also discriminatory.

And even if the court sided with the plaintiffs in a trial and struck down the maps, Texas could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court — dragging out the case even longer.

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Missouri Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

For more information, visit the Missouri Secretary of State’s website

Election Day:

Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. central time on Election Day.

Missouri does not have early voting.

How to Find Your Polling Place:  Visit the Missouri Secretary of State’s polling place locator web page.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines: You must register by the fourth Wednesday prior to the General Election. The deadline for this year’s General Election is Wednesday, October 12. If registering by mail, your voter registration must be postmarked by such date.

How to Check Your Registration: Use Missouri’s Voter Registration Search website or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Missouri, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Reside in Missouri;
  • Be at least 17 years and six months of old;
  • Not be barred from voting due to a disqualifying criminal conviction or imprisonment; and
  • Not have been declared incapacitated by a court.

There is no duration of residence requirement in Missouri; you may register the first day that you move to the state.

How to Register: Missouri residents may register in person or by mail.

By Mail

In order to register by mail, you may obtain a mail-in registration form by:

In Person

You may register to vote in person in any of the following ways:

  • When applying for or renewing your driver’s license or State Identification Card;
  • At any state agency providing service to the public; or
  • At your local County Clerk’s office found at Secretary of State’s website.

Identification Required for Registration

Voters may register by mail without identification, but they must provide a form of identification when they vote at the polls on Election Day. 

If You Want to Vote Early

There is no “Early Voting” in Missouri.  Registered voters who expect to be prevented from going to their polling place on Election Day may vote absentee beginning six weeks prior to an election.  For more information on absentee voting, visit the Secretary of State’s website for additional absentee voting information.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she has one of the following reasons:

  • Absence from the county on election day;
  • Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or 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;  or
  • Certified participation in an address confidentiality program established because of safety concerns.

Voters can request absentee ballots from their local election authority in person, by mail, or by fax.   A form for requesting an absentee ballot is available online on the Secretary of State’s website.

Rules and Deadlines:

  • An absentee ballot application must be received by the election authority no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to any election. For this election, that is November 2, 2016.
  • In-person requests must be done in the office of the local election authority by 5:00 p.m. the night before the election.
  • Voters may return completed absentee ballots to the election authority in person, in person by a relative of the second degree, by mail, or by registered carrier. Absentee ballots sent by mail or registered carrier are eligible to be counted if received by the time of poll closing on Election Day. Voters can vote in-person by absentee ballot in the office of the local election authority until 5:00 p.m. the night before the election.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Valid forms of ID are:

  • Valid ID issued by the federal government, state of Missouri, or a local election authority;
  • Valid ID issued by a Missouri institution (public or private) of higher education, including universities, colleges, and vocational and technical schools;
  • Valid driver’s license or state identification card issued by another state; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter.

Without one of these forms of identification, a voter is permitted to:

  • Vote a provisional ballot, or
  • Vote, if two supervising election judges, one from each major political party, are able to attest to the voter’s identity.

VoteRiders has created Missouri voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same County

Voters should go to the polling place serving his or her new address. Voters must be permitted to file a change of address before an election judge on Election Day.  The voter may also file a change of address and vote at the central polling location.

Moving Between Counties

A registered voter who has changed his or her county of residence must register to vote again in the new county of residence.  If the voter moved after the registration deadline and otherwise possesses the qualifications to vote, he/she may vote by absentee ballot for all statewide and nationwide candidates and questions. 

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Missouri-specific FPCA page.

UOCAVA voters may also register to vote and request an absentee ballot through the Missouri Military & Overseas Voting Services website or by calling 1-800-669-VOTE (8683).

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their blank absentee ballots by U.S. Mail or electronic transmission.  To request election transmission of the blank ballot, UOCAVA voters must mark the appropriate box and provide an email address on the State of Missouri “UOCAVA Application for Absentee Ballot” (available here) or on the FPCA (see Missouri-specific FPCA page). Ballots must be returned via U.S. Mail, commercial carrier, or by hand delivery.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters.  You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities.  You must apply for a regular ballot early enough for your local election officials to receive the FEAB request at least 4 days before the Election Day.  If you do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB.  Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Missouri by the 28th day before Election Day if used for registration, or otherwise received by the 3rd day after Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s Missouri-specific FWAB page

A person convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) related to voting is ineligible to vote again unless such person is pardoned by the governor and, after such pardon, the election authority determines that such person is eligible to vote.

A person may not vote if he or she is currently imprisoned for any crime.  A person that is convicted of a misdemeanor but is not sentenced to imprisonment does not lose eligibility to vote.   A person that is convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to imprisonment automatically regains eligibility to vote after such person is released from imprisonment. A person convicted of a felony automatically regains eligibility to vote after such person has fully completed his/her sentence, including probation or parole.

Any person whose name was removed from the voter registration list on the basis of a criminal conviction who subsequently becomes eligible to vote must reregister in order to have her or his name restored to the statewide voter registration system.


Top Issues

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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Election Information for your state