ST. LOUIS – If you are worried about going to the polls this year there are other ways you can cast your vote. Dance the Vote co-founder Joan Lipkin wants people to know absentee and mail-in ballots are an option.
Dance the Vote was founded in 2016 by a core group of St. Louis women of all different ages and backgrounds. They partner with local choreographers, dancers, poets, and spoken word performers in the St. Louis area to raise awareness on social issues through the arts. There most recent projects have been directed towards voter registration and deadlines.
“I think it is our responsibility to figure out how to explain to people the various ways that they can vote, the deadlines, and how to get their ballots in,” said Lipkin.
In the midst of this pandemic, more and more voters are expressing their concerns about going to the polls in and voting in large crowds. Lipkin says the answer is absentee and mail-in voting.
The deadline to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot is Wednesday, July 22. There are certain qualifications you must meet in the State of Missouri to be eligible for absentee voting, but any and everyone who is registered to vote can apply for a mail-in ballot as long as they send it back notarized. The Secretary of State has provided a list of notaries that available to the public.
“It’s a good rehearsal for November. We have to get people who want to exercise that option – to do absentee or do mail to in – to have a sense of how to do it, how to work with a notary, and most especially how to get it in on time,” said Lipkin.
Absentee and mail-in voting allows you to vote safely and on time, but make sure you pay attention to deadlines. If your vote isn’t received on time – it won’t count. You can find Missouri voter deadlines on the Dance the Vote website.
Lipkin and other performing art enthusiasts feel their videos have been making a great impact in our city. Their videos are meant to be a funny yet clear way to explain voting to the younger generations and hopefully help them get more involved. You can check out some of their videos on their YouTube page, including their most recent video on absentee and mail-in ballots.
Surprisingly, the United States has the lowest voter turnout of any democratic country in the world. Lipkin says Dance the Vote videos have served as a tool to engage uncommitted voters and young people while re-emphasizing the importance of voting.
She discussed voting history in our country; how this is the 100-year anniversary of women being able to vote; how men and women have sacrificed their lives in order for our voices to be heard.
“Voting is not just a right,” said Lipkin. “It is our sacred responsibility.”