Date: June 30, 2020, 12:00 p.m.
Conversation 1 – Will I Be Able to Cast My Ballot? A Series of Webinars on COVID-19 and Voting in Missouri
Voting is a right that comes with U.S. citizenship. Voting is how Americans decide who represents them. Inclusive voting is the bedrock of democracy. Every citizen who chooses to vote should be able to cast a ballot.
Missouri’s elections law authorizes limited absentee balloting for voters who are unable to go to the polls on Election Day. Still, the possibility that the virus will spread through polling sites prompted the legislature to expand absentee voting and authorize voting by mail. Both measures are temporary and subject to conditions that limit who can benefit.
Did the legislature go far enough to ensure that all Missouri voters can safely cast a ballot in the age of COVID-19? When voters go to the polls in 2020, will Missouri repeat the mistakes made during the recent primary in Wisconsin, where the virus spread as people gathered to vote? What role should public health officials play in shaping conditions at polls on Election Day? How can election officials promote the new law while protecting the health of voters and poll workers?
The panelists will focus on Missouri’s election laws and their implications for voters in a challenging time; however, the themes of the webinar have universal significance, especially given the upcoming 2020 election. Therefore, all are encouraged to attend, from Missouri and beyond.
Fredrick Echols, MD | Director, Department of Health, St. Louis, Missouri
Eric Fey | Director, St. Louis County Elections, St. Louis, Missouri
Brianna Lennon, JD, MPP |Boone County Clerk, Columbia, Missouri
Denise Lieberman, JD | Voting rights attorney, Director of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Faculty Director of Voter Access and Engagement at the Center for Development, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis
Moderated by Gena Gunn McClendon, PhD | Director of Voter Access and Engagement, Center for Social Development, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis; Jennifer Slavik Lohman, St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition; Vicki Washington, St. Louis Area Voter Initative
About This Series
The Voter Access and Engagement initiative at the Center for Social Development will convene national and regional experts for a series of virtual conversations about voting in Missouri during the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists will address the expansion of the voting law in Missouri for 2020. Topics will include protecting the right to vote, mail-in voting, other strategies for voting safely, and what to expect if voting in person. The series will highlight issues critical to voting during a health crisis, and point to long-term strategies for inclusive democracy during elections.