With so much heightened awareness on voting in the Nov. 3 2020 election, you may find information on options, deadlines and procedures coming at you from all directions. Figuring out how to safely vote in Missouri may be a bit daunting, especially if you’re a senior or someone trying to assist an older adult who is close to you.

Bethesda is Helping Seniors Cast Their Ballot

To help seniors cast their ballots safely and effectively, Bethesda Health Group Foundation has been providing residents living at Bethesda communities with helpful Missouri voter education information by sending emails, distributing flyers and holding voter registration events.

Additionally, Bethesda Health Group Foundation has been offering the services of a Deputy Registrar, who is certified with the St. Louis County Board of Elections, to help its seniors complete their voter registration forms along with applications for requesting absentee ballots.

Bethesda’s Deputy Registrar Pam Dempski has been taking phone calls from seniors who appreciate having someone at Bethesda to turn to for answers to their questions and guidance about choosing the safest way for them to vote. She not only provides the necessary signature on application forms, but she can deliver them for you.

“One of our residents who contacted me was experiencing mobility issues due to some paralysis new to him, so he was very concerned about not being able to go to the polls for the first time, and I was able to meet with him in his apartment,” says Dempski. “We quickly completed his application requesting an absentee ballot, and I delivered it the next day. He is now set to receive his ballot by mail and vote absentee.”

How to Vote in Missouri: Three Options

Missouri voters have three options: absentee, mail-in or in-person. Bethesda only has resources to help its residents, but to help make sure your vote counts, keep in mind the following:

1. Absentee Voting

You can vote absentee in-person at your local election board office between now and Nov. 2, the day before Election Day. You will receive your ballot and cast it at that time.

You also can request an absentee ballot from your local election office in person, by mail, email or fax. You must return the application form requesting an absentee ballot to your local election office no later than Oct. 21. To cast your absentee ballot by U.S. mail, return it promptly so the local election authority has received it by Nov. 3.

2. Mail-In Voting

If you’re a registered voter, you’re eligible to request a mail-in ballot. The procedure is the same as requesting an absentee ballot. The local election office must receive your application form no later than Oct. 21. You must return your ballot by U.S. Mail only, not in person at the election office. Again, mail it promptly so it is received by Nov. 3.

An important distinction between mail-in voting and absentee voting is understanding when your ballot envelope needs to be notarized. While all mail-in voting ballots require a notary signature on the ballot envelope, your absentee ballot envelope does not require a notary signature if you’re voting absentee for the following reasons:

  • Incapacity or confinement due to illness
  • Having contracted coronavirus or at-risk in 2020 due to the following:
    • Age 65 or older
    • Living in a long-term care facility
    • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • Serious heart condition
    • Immunocompromised
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis
    • Liver disease

Remember, for both absentee and mail-in voting, Missouri is a “received by” state, not a “postmarked by” state. Your local election authority must receive ballots by 7 p.m. Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

3. In-Person Voting

Due to Covid-19 consolidating the number of polling locations, it is important to know the location of your polling place if you choose to go to the polls Nov. 3. While you can vote at any polling place within the county that you’re registered to vote, you may want to check with your local election authority for the one closest to you. Some, like St. Louis County, have polling place look-up features available online.

Identification to Bring With You

When you go to the polls, remember to have your ID. What kind of ID do you need to vote? They will accept any of the following:

  • Current driver or non-driver license
  • State college/university ID
  • S. Passport
  • Military ID
  • Identification issued by the State of Missouri or the U.S. Government
  • Missouri Voter Identification Card
  • Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or government document

If you have no form of identification but are a registered voter, you may cast a provisional ballot.

Finally, if you change your mind or forget to send in your absentee or mail-in ballot on time, you can vote in-person by bringing your ballot to a polling place on Election Day and surrendering it to then vote in-person at that polling place.

For answers to other frequently asked questions about voting in St. Louis County, visit the Missouri Secretary of State’s website . Bethesda residents are encouraged to contact Deputy Registrar, Pam Dempski with the Bethesda Health Group Foundation, at pedempski@BethesdaHealth.org or 314-800-1981, or your local election board.