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The News Tribune reports on elections to equip community members with the tools they need to participate in democracy. That includes sharing candidates' positions on important issues and making information about the voting process accessible.

To tell the News Tribune what you'd like us to consider in our coverage this election season, please complete the short survey at www.newstribune.com/electionsurvey. Readers can also submit questions for candidates in Cole County and statewide elections via email to [email protected], and we'll ask the candidates to answer them in a future edition.

For answers to frequently asked questions about how to vote, visit www.newstribune.com/votefaq. For full coverage of local candidates in the November 2020 election, visit newstribune.com/election.

 

Some Mid-Missouri residents have received recent mailings that have caused confusion about their voter registration, and Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer, the county's election official, wants residents to know they can call his office for information about their registration.

The Voter Participation Center is a nonprofit, non-government and nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., that runs mail and digital programs to register and mobilize voters as well as conduct research and polling, according to its website.

The center works specifically to encourage the "rising American electorate," which it defines as "young people, people of color and unmarried women." In Missouri, this population represents 2.3 million people, or 52 percent of the state's eligible voting population, according to the Voter Participation Center.

Korsmeyer said his office has been receiving calls from local residents about the Voter Participation Center mailings, many of whom are already registered to vote and expressed confusion after receiving the mailings about whether they are actually registered.

"I don't know where they get their addresses from, but this happens every presidential election," Korsmeyer said.

He advised any Cole County residents unsure about their voter registration should call the County Clerk's Office at 573-634-9101.

One Voter Protection Center mailing received by Cole County residents, shared with Korsmeyer, opens by saying: "According to our review of publicly available records, you may not be registered to vote at your current address."

Voter Protection Center officials said one reason they work on voter registration is 42 percent of Americans move between election years, so they want to help people keep up with voter registration, which is tied to their address.

Organization spokesman Ryan Johnson told the News Tribune in an email the center has mailed out more than 177,000 voter registration applications to people in Missouri. The center provides samples of mailings in advance to "top state election officials to ensure the group complies with all state laws," Johnson added.

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Officials at the Missouri Secretary of State's Office said they are aware of the group and are familiar with its mailings in previous years.

The Voter Protection Center has a Missouri office in Springfield. Those who wish to be removed from the center's mailing list may call 877-255-6750 or email [email protected]

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 7.

Cole County residents who need to register to vote can visit the Cole County Clerk's Office on the second floor of the Cole County Courthouse Annex at 311 E. High St. in Jefferson City to complete the paperwork there. The application is also available on the county's website, colecounty.org/clerk, and can be submitted by mail to the clerk's office along with an acceptable form of identification.

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