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County clerk talks upcoming election on National Voter Registration Day

“If you want to physically come in and get registered, you have until 5 o’clock on October 7th,” said Baack-Garvey.

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 3:50 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 6:52 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, a nationwide, nonpartisan effort to get more people to cast their vote. 

Political experts said this upcoming presidential election is going to be unprecedented. 

“There’s a lot going on in terms of political conflict. There’s a lot going on in terms of battles over issues of racial justice, racial equity. There are climate catastrophes, people fleeing from fire and did I mention the pandemic?” said Dr. Melinda Kovacs, Missouri Western State University Political Science Associate Professor. 

Dr. Kovacs said because of the election's high stakes, voting could be too overwhelming for some or force others to the polls or mailbox.

“But the situation is going to divide people’s responses either into the ‘I just want to huddle and cocoon inside my house,’ or ‘Oh my goodness, I have to use my voice as a voter to participate in the democratic process because otherwise who knows what’s going to come next?” said Dr. Kovacs. 

Political science professors anticipate a higher voter turnout.

But before anyone can vote, they need to register. 

The Buchanan County Clerk said there's been more registrations this year than the previous election, four years ago. “Online registrations we’re probably averaging 150 a day. It’s crazy now. A lot of them aren’t all new. Some of them are address changes and maybe a duplicate voter, but at least they’re making the effort to make sure they’re registering or changing their address. I’m proud of us,” said Mary Baack-Garvey, Buchanan County Clerk. 

For those who haven't registered to vote, deadlines are looming. 

“If you want to physically come in and get registered, you have until 5 o’clock on October 7th,” said Baack-Garvey. 

So, who needs to register? Anyone who has moved since the latest election, had a name change or will be a first time voter. 

Missouri residents have until October 7th to register for the November election.  

Buchanan County residents can walk into the county clerk's office to register or register online. 

As of Tuesday morning, 2,000 absentee ballots were sent out in Buchanan County. Baack-Garvey said, “We’ve already had two people here at the counter at 7:55 a.m. this morning to vote absentee, so it’s going to be busy.”

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