Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday, March 18, signed an executive order declaring “a state of emergency” in response to COVID-19, and ordered that all Missouri municipal elections scheduled for April 7 be postponed to June 2, 2020.
The Executive Order declares that ballots already printed for the April 7 election may be used at the postponed date of June 2. Voters who have attained the age of 18 by April 7 will be allowed to cast a ballot.
“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together.”
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft stated that Missouri has 116 separate election authorities.
“We have come together to help protect Missouri voters. These are difficult times, but I am grateful for how we have responded, worked together and come to a resolution that helps every single Missouri voter,” Ashcroft said.
Section 44.100, RSMo, provides that during a state of emergency, the governor is authorized to “waive or suspend the operation of any statutory requirement or administrative rule prescribing procedures for conducting state business, where strict compliance with such requirements and rules would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action by the department of health and senior services to respond to a declared emergency or increased health threat to the population.”
The Executive Order requires local election authorities to publish notice of the June 2 election. The closing date to register to vote in this election remains March 11. The deadline for filing as a write-in candidate for office remains March 27 at 5 p.m. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is now May 20.
Military and overseas voters must request a ballot from an election authority by 5 p.m. on May 29, and the deadline for local election authorities to make ballots available to such voters is April 18. Military and overseas ballots must be received by the election authority by June 5.