Mid-Missouri residents start casting absentee ballots

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COLUMBIA — With only two weeks until the Nov. 8th election, more people are expected to vote in a nontraditional way.

The Pew Research Center estimated 50 million people will fall under this category, and as of Oct. 21st over four million have already casted a ballot. 

Cole County reported issuing 2,214 absentee ballots as of Tuesday, while Callaway County reported a total of 981.

In 2012 Cole County received a total of 4,085 absentee ballots and Callaway County received 1,631 absentee ballots.

Missouri Resident Theresa Gaul said she filled out an absentee ballot because she knew she couldn't make it back to her home town and enjoyed the process.

"It gives you the opportunity to look at the candidates that you want to vote for. Usually I would never go to a candidates website, but since I had the ballot and I could think about it for awhile and look at the names, I actually was able to research who I was voting for," Gaul said.

Columbia College Political Science Professor Terry B. Smith said Missouri doesn't allow for early voting, but it does let people fill out absentee ballots if necessary.

"Absentee voting in Missouri is fairly restrictive because you have to be able to prove or swear that you simply can't go to the polls on election," Smith said.

Smith encourages everyone to vote if eligible and said, "If you don't vote, don't complain."

Mail-in absentee ballots are to be sent out by Nov. 2, and walk in absentee ballots are eligible until Nov. 7th.