Are you concerned about casting your vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you still need to register to vote and don't know how to go about it? Are you just curious how the process may have changed amid recent events? Here's a quick explainer to fill you in.
WHAT HAS CHANGED:
In the past, Missouri extended absentee and mail-in voting privileges only to those who met certain requirements. But due to COVID-19, the rules have changed a little.
ABSENTEE VOTING is now available for any registered Missouri voter who is either 1) 65 or older or 2) has medical conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Specifically, anyone who meets any of the following criteria is eligible for an absentee ballot:
- has contracted coronavirus
- lives in a long-term care facility
- has chronic lung disease or asthma
- has a serious heart condition
- is immunocompromised
- has diabetes
- has chronic kidney disease and is undergoing dialysis
- has liver disease
Absentee ballots DO NOT need to be notarized.
MAIL-IN VOTING is now available to ALL Missouri voters, through December 31, 2020. All mail-in ballots MUST BE legally notarized.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO - VOTING:
In order VOTE ABSENTEE for the general election on November 3, first confirm that you are eligible according to the list of requirements above. Then print and fill out this application (for City of St. Louis residents) or this one (for St. Louis County residents).
Next, mail the application to the address provided on the form itself. Absentee applications for both the city and the county must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 to be counted. Once the application is received, a ballot will be mailed to the voter. First-time absentee voters must provide a copy of a valid form of ID when sending back their ballots.
You may also apply for an absentee ballot in person, or have a family member or guardian do so for you. See stlouis-mo.gov for further details about the process required by the city, and stlouisco.com for the county.
Next, mail the application to the appropriate address. For county residents, a mailing address is provided on the application itself. City residents will mail the application to:
St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners
300 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Mail-in applications for both the city and the county must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 to be counted. Once the application is received, a ballot will be mailed to the voter. First-time mail-in voters must provide a copy of a valid form of ID along with their ballot, and the return envelope for all mail-in voters must be signed in the presence of a notary public. (See below for information about free notary services.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO - REGISTERING TO VOTE:
While it is still possible to register to vote in person at a public library or election office, all Missouri residents also have the option of completing a voter registration form online and mailing it in. Just go to the Missouri Secretary of State's website, complete the short questionnaire, and then follow the instructions on the registration form provided.
Please note that voter registration forms must be postmarked by the fourth Wednesday before the election (October 7, 2020 for this year's general election) in order for the applicant to be eligible to vote. If you plan to vote absentee or via mail, you will need to allow enough time for that process as well. It's best to register as early as you can!
A group of local notaries has been meeting outside the Lindell entrance of the Schlafly Branch Library every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to provide their services to voters for free. They will have copies of the mail-in application on hand, as well as pre-addressed envelopes.