Friday, April 24, 2020

Safe Voting During a Pandemic

While the November 3rd Presidental Election is still 6 months away*, there are many things we can (and should) be doing right now to prepare for everyone to be able to cast their ballots on Election Day.

We all watched voters in Wisconsin on April 7th risk their health to cast a vote. There are now reports of 19 cases of COVID-19 in connection with voters or poll workers from that day. We can't let that happen again.

Don't' take my word for it. You should read this letter from Judge Mike Wolff. He makes a great legal argument as to why the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow MO voters to vote absentee during the pandemic. (More specifics about absentee voting in MO under another blog)

The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition has published policy measures to ensure accessible, safe, and orderly elections in Missouri. You can read their full recommendations at the link above. 

Overview of Recommended measures for voting in Missouri in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis include:
I. Expanded absentee voting by mail, including no-excuse absentee voting and elimination of the notary requirement. At a minimum, social distancing required by COVID-19 must constitute a valid excuse for any voter to cast an absentee ballot.
II. Advance voting before Election Day, allowing more citizens to vote over time rather than in a cluster on Election Day.
III. Bolstered online voter registration.
IV. Polling place modifications to ensure public safety consistent with the Center for Disease Control Guidelines and that ensure accessibility for voting populations that have traditionally faced barriers to the ballot.
V. Robust voter assistance and education.

ACTION ITEM: If you agree with the plan. You can add your signature now.

Want to learn more? 

• Here are the CDC Recommendations for Election Polling Locations 
• From St. Louis Public Radio " Do you feel safe going to the polls in the time of Coronavirus?"
• Follow the ACLU Lawsuit - Absentee Vote by Mail for all Missourians

*Reminder that there is a Special Election on June 23rd in Saint Louis, for Wards 4 and 12. There is also a Saint Louis City-Wide Election on August 4th, with important primary races such as City Treasurer, City Circuit Attorney, and Sherriff. As well as Primary elections for many House District Seats (including my Rep in the 83rd), MO Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and our Congressional District 1. But it doesn't really matter what is on the ballot, the point is that every person who is eligible to vote should be able to, without fear of risking their safety.

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