Op-Ed: Request your absentee ballot

Philip Keisler | Class of 2022

July 22. That is the deadline to request an absentee ballot to vote in the August 4 primary. For many students who are not currently living in Missouri but are registered to vote here, July 22 is your last day to ensure that your vote will be counted in the August 4 primary.

There are strong candidates running that deserve your consideration, but there is one ballot initiative that we all have a responsibility to vote for and where your vote counts: Amendment 2, Medicaid expansion.

Missouri, unlike most other states, has a robust ballot initiative process where we, the voters, can bypass our Republican-controlled state government. That’s how a minimum wage increase and an anti-gerrymandering initiative passed in 2018. Medicaid expansion is now on the ballot, and Missouri will have the chance to pass it and expand healthcare to those who can’t currently afford it.

Currently, in Missouri, you can qualify for Medicaid if your income is less than $5,500 per year for a family of four. With the expansion, that limit is raised to $18,000. This results in 230,000 Missourians receiving healthcare who do not have it currently. This ballot initiative will save lives in Missouri, but only if it is passed on August 4.

Oklahoma recently became the 37th state to expand Medicaid, but it was a narrow vote. Only a 6,000 vote difference allowed for the passage of Medicaid expansion. This margin, which is less than the undergraduate population at Washington University, allowed 200,000 Oklahoma residents to obtain healthcare. It will likely be a narrow margin in Missouri as well, especially given the fact that it is taking place during a low-turnout primary election. It’s therefore on us to make sure we get our vote in and request an absentee ballot by July 22.

If you are registered at an on-campus address, you should request your ballot at the St. Louis County Board of Elections website, where you can email your completed form. If you live off campus in the city of St. Louis, visit the St. Louis City Board of Elections website and then you can request an absentee ballot by mailing the form to 300 N. Tucker Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63101. If you have never voted in Missouri in person before then include a scan of your ID. Take the five minutes to make sure that during a pandemic, Missourians can have the healthcare they need.

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