JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In less than eight weeks, Americans will be headed to the polls for the presidential election, but with the current pandemic, some might vote by mail-in or absentee ballot.
President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this month to test the election system by saying if you vote by mail-in or absentee ballots, you should go to the polls on Election Day to make sure your vote counts.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said voting more than once is committing a crime.
“We don’t want people voting twice, not in the election,” Ashcroft said. “We just want every eligible voter to come and vote once.”
Voters will head to the polls across the country on November 3, but like most things this year, the pandemic has taken a toll on the election.
“I think we will see more absentee ballots in November than what we saw in August, but we will see a greater increase in the number of mail-in ballots,” Ashcroft said. “You know, voting is important, and we need to place the same sort of importance on our right to vote and our opportunity to be a part of making decisions for our future.”
President Trump told his followers on Twitter earlier this month, “To make sure your vote counts and is counted, sign and mail in your ballot as early as possible. On Election Day, go to your polling place to see whether or not your mail-in vote as been tabulated. If it has not been counted, vote.”
“Seems to me the President has had some concerns about mail-in balloting, and I have concerns of mail-in balloting, too,” Ashcroft said. “It’s not the best way for people to make sure their vote will count.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson was asked about the president’s tweets.
“Look, we got a pretty good structure in place in Missouri and I trust the secretary of state’s office and what they’ve been doing and what they continue to do,” Parson said. “We’re going to continue moving on with what guidelines we have in this state and we’re going to move forward with what we do here in Missouri.”
Ashcroft reiterated it’s a crime to vote more than once.
“It’s illegal to vote twice and we work very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Ashcroft said.
He said it’s why the election authorities check your identity before you vote.
“Which is one of the reasons why we do this, we see who you are and say, ‘Wait a minute, you’ve already received a ballot so you’re not allowed to go ahead and vote a second time,'” Ashcroft said. “If you’ve requested an absentee ballot or mail-in ballot, that’s on your record.”
Ashcroft said voter turnout was up 25 percent for the primary election in August compared to the primary in 2016.
“The people of this state have done a great job getting out, local election authorities and poll workers have done a great job,” Ashcroft said. “The Show Me State is showing the rest of the country how to get it done.”
The secretary of state said Missouri has 4.1 million registered voters in the state. Ashcroft said the best way to make sure your vote counts is to vote in person.
“The best way to vote is to vote in person and it will be safe and secure and it will give us the results the fastest which, I think, is really good for the credibility for the process,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft recommends voters send off their mail-in and absentee ballots at least two weeks before the November 3 election to make sure your vote counts. He said if you don’t get your ballot in the mail on time, you can drop it off at your local polling place on election day.
The last day to register to vote in Missouri is October 7.