Missouri is one of the few states that requires an excuse to request an absentee ballot and notarized signatures for most completed absentee ballots. It's time to make voting easier in Missouri.
LWV of Missouri and Metro St. Louis signed on to a letter from the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition to the Governor and Secretary of State with five recommendations for voting in Missouri amid the COVID-19 crisis.
- Expanding absentee voting by mail, including adoption of no-excuse absentee voting and elimination of the notary requirement. Current absentee voting due to incapacity or illness should explicitly include those practicing social distancing or self-quarantine.
- Expanded in-person absentee voting options
- Expanded voter registration, particularly online
- Polling place modifications to ensure public safety and to protect voter accessibilit
- Robust voter education
Note that the League supports Senator Karla May's early voting bill, SB681. The Missouri Clerks Association, the statewide group of election officials, has officially endorsed that legislation.
See below for the letter to the editor the League just sent to papers in Springfield, Jeff City, Columbia and St. Louis on how the state can make it easier and safer to vote in 2020 elections.
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters of Missouri believes our public officials must uphold the rights of all voters while simultaneously safeguarding the health and safety of the American people during the COVID-19 crisis. In Missouri, we can uphold voters’ rights by immediately providing for no-excuse absentee voting in upcoming elections.
Missouri is one of just 11 states that require an excuse to request an absentee ballot and a notarized signature for the completed ballot. It’s time to make voting easier in Missouri.
The League of Missouri encourages elected officials to add this pandemic to the acceptable reasons to request an absentee ballot and to waive the notarized signature required on the mailed ballots. In the current crisis, it’s urgent that voters be able to vote without jeopardizing themselves and their community.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot from your local election authority is May 20 for the municipal elections that will now be held on June 2.
Proposed Missouri Senate Bill 681 would make these changes to current election law and expand early voting opportunities, but it requires both House and Senate action to become law. In the meantime, elected officials should find a way to allow more voters to cast absentee ballots as an immediate response to the ongoing pandemic.
Evelyn Maddox, President
League of Women Voters of Missouri