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Seven things to know before voting in CoMo

Read up on election basics before heading to the polls.

By Claire Colby | Nov. 2, 2016

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Whether you’re “with her” or hoping to “make America great again,” Election Day is rapidly approaching. Many MU students will vote for the first time Nov. 8. Before you head to the polls, here are some things to know about voting in Columbia.

1. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Life can be busy, but there is a 13-hour window to do your civic duty. Voters will be allowed to cast a ballot as long as they are in line by 7 p.m., even if they don’t actually enter the polling place until after 7 p.m.

2. Ballot selfies are illegal. In Missouri, it is illegal to show your ballot to anyone, according to The Associated Press. This includes snapping selfies with your ballot. If you absolutely must showcase your political involvement, snag an “I Voted” sticker and take a picture after leaving the polls.

3. Leave your “Nasty Woman” shirt and Trump hat at home. The Supreme Court upheld a ban on electioneering in polling places in 1992. This includes wearing campaign gear. In previous years, Boone County election officials politely asked voters to turn their shirts inside out. However, after a disgruntled and braless voter disrobed in the middle of a polling place several years ago, leading election judges to change their policy. Now, Boone County voters in campaign shirts will be given a large button-up shirt to cover up any potential slogans (but your best bet is still passing on the political clothing).

4. Election judges are not allowed to explain any items on the ballot. This year, the Boone County ballot has 24 items, including several proposed constitutional amendments. Judges and other election officials are not allowed to offer any information about these items. Before you head to the polls, Google “my ballot.” You will then be able to type in your address and see all the national, state and local issues you will be voting on. Take a second to read about the issues so you aren’t caught by surprise.

5. Cell phones use will not be allowed in polling places. Nope, you can’t phone a friend either. Once in a polling place, the decision is entirely yours and yours alone.

6. You can take as long as you want. According to Missouri law, you can take as long as you need to vote. In addition, you are allowed to change your mind as many times as you want. Simply trade in your marked-up ballot for a clean one and start over.

7. You can score a free ride to the polls. There are several polling places on campus alone. Those living off campus, however, may be assigned to different precincts. COMO Connect offers free bus rides to polling places on Election Day from 6:25 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit its website for a schedule and route information.

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