Missouri Democrats choose in presidential primary today
Twenty-two names will appear on the ballot today as Missouri Democrats head to the polls to choose a nominee for president.
In reality, nearly all of them are political gadflies or candidates who have already dropped out of the race.
That leaves only two men with any real chance of emerging with a share of Missouri’s 68 delegates: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Biden had events in St. Louis and Kansas City over the weekend, and his wife hopscotched the state Monday. Much of the Democratic establishment in the state has rallied to his cause, including Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and the last two Democratic governors.
Sanders spoke to hundreds of supporters in St. Louis Monday afternoon, but he canceled a planned stop in Kansas City. He may lack institutional support, but Sanders’ rise has been fueled instead by volunteer fervor. In Missouri, he boasts an army of supporters who have essentially been campaigning on his behalf since he narrowly lost the Missouri primary in 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about today’s presidential primary.
POLLS AND ID
Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.. If you run late to the polls but are in line by 7 p.m., you still have the right to cast your vote. You don’t have to be done voting by the time the polls close.
Voters are not required to show a photo ID to cast a ballot, but they must provide documentation that contains their name and address. A utility bill, bank statement or paycheck can suffice.
Anyone who cannot provide ID but is still registered to vote may cast a provisional ballot that will be counted if they return to the polling place on Election Day with ID or if the signature on the provisional ballot envelope is determined by
local election authority to match the signature on the voter’s registration record.
Corey Dillon, director of the Jackson County Election Board, said polling places have stocked up on disinfectant wipes. Election workers have been instructed to wipe down pens used for signing the poll books and surfaces at voting booths throughout the day as the region responds to cases of coronavirus in Missouri and Kansas.
“We encourage voters to take the same type of precautions they’d take going to the bank or the grocery store,” she said.
Dillon said the county takes similar steps whenever an election coincides with flu season. “We always are concerned during election time when it is in the midst of the flu season and we take those precautions seriously,” Dillon said.
The state’s 68 delegates will be assigned based on both the statewide results and the vote total in each of the state’s eight congressional districts.
The Missouri Democratic Party has criticized Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican, for not requiring county election offices to separate the votes by congressional district.
“If it’s a tight race, it’ll be hard to discern,” said Lauren Gepford, the executive director of the state party, who noted that Jackson County includes portions of both the state’s 4th and 5th congressional districts.
Ashcroft said in a statement that the party’s request to separate out the votes by congressional district, as was done in 2016 under Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander, came in weeks after the ballots had been printed.
“On top of all that,” he said, “it would concern me to spend taxpayer money to benefit one political party.”
The Missouri Democratic Party will put out an estimate of each candidate’s delegates on election night, but the overall delegate count could change as the party parses out the totals in each congressional district.