According to the U.S. Constitution, voting is a right and a privilege. Exercising that right as an informed voter requires time and effort. Keeping track of the different voting options available and the misinformation surrounding them can be difficult. We are here to help! Below is information regarding voter registration, absentee ballots, mail-in ballots, polling locations, notarizing, and how to spot misinformation to aid in your own informed voter process.
Unsure if you’re registered to vote? Find out by checking your voter registration here. Christian County residents can register to vote at any Christian County Library location or at the Christian County Clerk’s Office located at 100 W. Church, Rm. 304 Ozark, MO 65721 (417) 582-4340. Current Christian County residents who have changed their address or name in the past year must fill out a voter information change form. Make sure to either email or fax the completed form to the address or number provided at the top of the form.
Registered Missouri voters can vote using an absentee ballot beginning six (6) weeks prior to the November 3 general election. One of the following justifications must be met to vote by absentee ballot:
- Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote
- Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability
- Religious belief or practice
- Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place
- Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retained
- Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns
- For an election that occurs during the year 2020, the voter has contracted or is in an at-risk category for contracting or transmitting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (COVID-19)
Here is the request for the absentee ballot form. All completed forms must be delivered to the Christian County Clerk’s Office for processing. Please note mailed requests for absentee ballots for the upcoming November 3 general election must be received by October 21 at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots may be requested in-person up until the day before Election Day. Absentee ballots will be sent out beginning on September 22, 2020. To complete an absentee ballot make sure to either:
- Have the absentee ballot notarized (the library will notarize ballots free of charge)
- You are eligible to vote absentee without a notary if due to:
- Incapacity or confinement due to illness
- In 2020, you have contracted coronavirus or are at-risk due to any of the following
- Are age 65 or older
- Live in a long-term care facility
- Have chronic lung disease/asthma
- Have a serious heart condition
- Are immunocompromised
- Have diabetes
- Have chronic kidney disease and is undergoing dialysis
- Have liver disease
- You are eligible to vote absentee without a notary if due to:
- Submit ballots to the Christian County Clerk’s Office by mail or in-person. If mailing, mail your ballot in time for its receipt by Election Day (November 3) at 7 p.m., as Missouri does not accept postmarked absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day. The USPS recommends that “domestic, non-military voters mail their ballots at least one week prior” to Missouri’s due date.
Senate Bill 631 passed on June 4, 2020, allows mail-in ballots for the November 3 general election due to COVID-19 concerns. Any registered Missouri voter can request a mail-in ballot from their local election authority.
Here is the request for a mail-in ballot form. All completed forms must be delivered to the Christian County Clerk’s Office for processing. Please note that requests for mailed-in ballots for the upcoming November 3 general election must be received by October 21 at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots may be requested in-person up until the day before Election Day. Mail-in ballots will be sent out beginning on September 22, 2020. To complete an absentee ballot make sure to either:
- Personally deliver the mail-in ballot to the Christian County Clerk’s Office.
- If sending through the mail, have the mail-in ballot envelope notarized (the library will notarize ballots free of charge)
- Submit the ballot to the Christian County Clerk’s Office through U.S. mail. Mail your ballot in time for its receipt by Election Day (November 3) at 7:00 p.m., as Missouri does not accept postmarked mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day. The USPS recommends that “domestic, non-military voters mail their ballots at least one week prior” to Missouri’s due date.
Notarization is required for mail-in ballots and some absentee ballots (review the absentee ballot guidelines above). Notary services are free of charge at the Christian County Library. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment with a notary:
Clever Community Branch 417-743-2277
Nixa Community Branch 417-724-6100
Ozark Community Branch 417-581-2432
Voting locations are scattered throughout the county. Each citizen’s polling location is assigned based on where they live. To find your polling location begin by checking your voter registration and identifying your precinct number. Next, use that number to find your polling location. For more information contact the Christian County Clerk’s Office 417-582-4340.
How to Spot Misinformation and Disinformation
According to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), critical thinking is a key skill in media and information literacy. Misinformation, disinformation, and fake news is nothing new, however, it can reach more people more quickly via social media. The IFLA recommends taking the following steps to spot misinformation:
- Consider the Source. Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission, and its contact info.
- Check the Author. Complete a quick search of the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
- Check the Date. Reposting old stories doesn’t mean they are relevant today.
- Check your Biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment.
- Read Beyond. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story?
- Supporting Sources? Click on those links. Determine if the info is given actually supports the story.
- Is it a Joke? If it’s too outlandish, it might be satire.
- Ask the Experts. Ask a librarian or consult a fact-checking site.
As suggested by the IFLA, consulting a fact-checking site is one step to spot misinformation and disinformation. California State University-San Marcos compiled a list of credible fact-checking sites open and free for anybody to use.
- FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. FactCheck.org applies the best practices of both journalism and scholarship to increase public knowledge and understanding.
- Fake News: It’s Complicated includes resources compiled by Claire Wardle. The site Includes helpful infographics that help to explain problematic content in the information ecosystem.
- False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources created by Dr. Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication & media at Merrimack College, as a tool to teach her students about journalism, social media, and media literacy.
- Politifact is a Pulitzer Prize-winning website rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials. Run by editors and reporters from the independent newspaper Tampa Bay Times, features the Truth-O-Meter that rates statements as “True,” “Mostly True,” “Half True,” “False,” and “Pants on Fire.”
- Polygraph.info is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. This website serves as a resource for verifying the increasing volume of disinformation and misinformation being distributed and shared globally.
- WashingtonPost Fact Checker rates the truthfulness of news stories.
For more information about misinformation and disinformation visit:
California State University-San Marcos Election 2020 Misinformation & Disinformation
IFLA Hot To Spot Fake News