The primary election will be Tuesday, August 4, 2020. This election is the process for choosing a political party’s candidates in the general election.

Missouri law limits each voter to one political party in the primary. Most states require that you register to vote by political party in order to participate in a primary election – that’s where the terms “Registered Democrat” and “Registered Republican” originate. In Missouri, you are not required to register to vote by party, but you can only choose the candidates for one political party at a primary election.

The section in Missouri law that requires you to choose a party or vote only on the issues is below (115.397 RSMo).

Missouri has never required voters to register to vote by political party but has required voters to choose only one party in a primary since the establishment of primaries. No government record of your party selection is kept but the political parties are allowed to have volunteers collect lists of what ballot each voter chooses.

The following political parties are currently authorized to hold primaries in Missouri: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, and Green.

The state ballot issue and any local issues are available if you do not choose a party on this ballot:


115.397. In each primary election, each voter shall be entitled to receive the ballot of one and only one political party, designated by the voter before receiving his ballot. Each voter who participates in a party primary shall be entitled to vote on all questions and for any nonpartisan candidates submitted by political subdivisions and special districts at the primary election. Each voter who does not wish to participate in a party primary may vote on all questions and for any nonpartisan candidates submitted by a political subdivision or special district at the primary election.

You may view the sample ballot in this edition of the Atchison County Mail or at Please be prepared as you enter the polling location on August 4. You will be required to tell the judges what ballot style would like from the list above. The local sheriff’s race will be on the Republican ballot.

Absentee voting is open at the Atchison County Clerk’s office. You can vote during regular business hours through Monday, August 3, and the office will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon on Saturday, August 1.

Once again, all precautions will be taken at the polling locations with shields and sanitizer. Susette Taylor, Atchison County Clerk, said, “As we do expect a large turnout, please remember to stay six feet apart in the polling location. Booths and tables will be sanitized regularly, and we do ask that you wear your mask for the additional safety of yourself and the judges, who so graciously serve our election process in Atchison County. Please thank them for their dedication as you go to the polls on August 4.”