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Letter: Make absentee voting easier for the disadvantaged

Letter: Make absentee voting easier for the disadvantaged

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Regarding “Missouri absentee voting lawsuit heading back to lower court” (June 23): “Everyone” in Missouri can vote by mail in 2020 due to the pandemic even if they don’t meet absentee criteria. However “everyone” doesn’t have equal ability to request a ballot or, more importantly, access to someone who can notarize the envelope containing the ballot.

To vote by mail, registered voters can go to their county board of elections office to request a mail-in ballot or print a form available online and mail it in to be received before 5 p.m. on July 22. However, not everyone has online access or can take off time from work. Calling a public library might help if it’s open. Not everyone has easy and efficient transportation to a library or the elections office. Not everyone can risk coronavirus exposure or juggle their single-parent or caregiver responsibilities and/or multiple jobs. Once a hard-won ballot is in hand, not everyone has a bank or other easy access to a notary to sign the envelope containing the secret ballot.

But local businesses can help. Even grocery stores and restaurants or stores with pick-up options could print a stack of ballot requests and publicize this or ask customers if they need one. Importantly, businesses with notaries can publicize this and make them available, even outdoors, for witnessing the mail-in ballots. Notaries can contact local charities to offer to make themselves available.

Everyone can send in a mail-in ballot, but not everyone is beyond needing help to make it happen.

Linda Eissenberg • University City

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