Missourians living overseas – including those in the military – can now register to vote and get their absentee ballots online through a new secure website set up by the secretary of state’s office.
The site -- https://www.momilitaryvote.com/ -- is the first of its kind nationally, said Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. A spokeswoman acknowledged that some other states have online-voting sites or procedures for their overseas military, but she said none is believed to be as sophisticated as Missouri’s new setup.
A key feature is that the site, called the Military and Overseas Voting Access Portal, isn’t just for the military. It can also be used by civilian members of their families and any other Missouri residing overseas. Kander singled out charity-aid workers and Peace Corps volunteers.
"This has been a priority for me generally, making sure it is easier for military personnel to participate in the democracy that they're working to protect,'' said Kander, a military veteran.
The site is now operational for the Aug. 5 primary election. Plans call for it to be in place for the Nov. 4 general election, and all subsequent elections held in Missouri.
The site actually went up last week, but “we waited a couple of days (to go public) to make sure it was working,’’ said Kander spokeswoman Laura Swinford.
Kander and his staff estimate that at least 84,000 Missouri members of the military, from all branches, could benefit from the site since they are assigned overseas or in other parts of the United States. It's unclear how many other Missourians overseas or in other states might benefit.
Kander said a feature should be in place that would allow military assigned to hostile areas, such as Afghanistan, to cast their absentee ballot online as well.
Kander said his interest in developing such a site stems from his belief that “no eligible Missourians should be deprived of the right to vote because they’re in uniform putting their lives on the line for us. With the Military and Overseas Voting Access Portal, we are setting a new standard for what it means to protect and promote the voting rights of those defending our country.”
The site also can be used by Missourians serving at military bases elsewhere in the United States.
“Eligible Missourians can visit the portal and create secure voting access accounts at www.momilitaryvote.com,” the secretary of state’s office said. “Users will receive their absentee ballot within 48 hours of submitting their requests.”
People who use the portal would still need to send in their absentee ballot manually, but the portal is expected to speed up the process in registering to vote and in applying for an absentee ballot. By November, Kander said a feature should be in place that would allow military assigned to hostile areas, such as Afghanistan, to cast their absentee ballot online as well.
The secretary of state’s office also released a reminder today that the deadline to register to vote or to make some change in address is July 9.
The website includes a way to look up your current registration information.