Missouri Republicans are trying to keep you from voting. You must register by July 6

·3 min read

Missourians who wish to cast ballots in the Aug. 2 primary must be registered by Wednesday, July 6. We urge every person who cares about the state, and the nation, to make sure his or her voter registration is current, and to vote.

Republican state lawmakers and Gov. Mike Parson are doing their best to take away that right. The best way to resist their work is to cast a ballot.

Important choices are before voters, including the U.S. Senate primary, U.S. House primaries and some state legislative races. In some communities, tax and spending decisions are on the ballot as well.

It’s easy to check on your registration status. Most county election offices have websites that allow a voter to verify registration. The Missouri secretary of state’s office provides the same service. Voters can always visit their local election office for help.

It’s especially important to check your registration if you have recently moved, or haven’t voted in a while. You must be 18 years old by Aug. 2 in order to cast a ballot in that primary, and a Missouri resident (and a U.S. citizen).

Need to register? There are dozens of places to do so, including some public libraries, the Missouri State Office Building in Kansas City and the Kansas City Health Department. You can also register online. Those who lack computer access in the home should be able to use the internet at the library.

A printed, filled-out registration form can be mailed to election authorities, but it must be postmarked by July 6. That’s pretty risky at this late date — better to use an alternative registration method if you can.

It’s possible, perhaps likely, that many Missourians may be confused about their right to register and vote in the August primary. In late June, Parson signed a disastrous election “reform” measure designed to make it harder to cast a ballot — and to have that ballot count.

But voters must know this: The provisions of that measure won’t be in place by the August primary. Registered voters should not be intimidated or frightened by the new law.

The new measure, for example, requires photo identification to cast a ballot in Missouri (a provision almost certain to be challenged in court.) But the requirement won’t be in place by Aug. 2. You need an approved ID to vote, but you don’t need a picture ID.

Currently, Missouri voters don’t register by political party affiliation. That means a Republican can vote a Democratic ballot in the primary, or vice versa. All voters can cast ballots for nonpartisan questions and issues.

That ends next year. Under the bill, Missourians will register by party, or as unaffiliated.

The Parson-endorsed election reform bill makes other unfortunate changes. It eliminates Missouri’s presidential primary, handing the decision over to party bosses and influencers. It requires paper ballots after January 2024, an expensive provision that will delay results without improving election security.

It broadly prohibits private groups from helping with voter registration and election administration. It will be harder to register in future years, which is precisely the point.

Missouri Republicans, like those in many other states, are engaged in a relentless effort to prevent fair access to the ballot, and the polls. They believe in control by the minority, and suppressing the vote is a key element in the plan.

They spend countless hours complaining of nonexistent voter “fraud,” then justify voter suppression by claiming citizens have lost faith in elections. It’s shameless, and shameful.

Missourians must resist. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died to protect the right to vote. We must honor their sacrifice by registering, voting, and refusing to allow self-government to perish.