If you, like many other Americans, are nervous about heading to the polls on November 3 but also don’t know what to expect or do to take advantage of mail-in options in your area, never fear—a KCMO nonprofit is coming hardest muscles to build tips to the rescue.
Curbside KC, which was born to support restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, has pivoted to make absentee and mail-in voting as painless as possible for Missouri residents in the KCMO area.
“Missouri voters can now request a mail-in ballot for any reason, but every mail-in ballot, and some absentee ballots, have to be notarized,” Danielle Lehman, founder of Curbside KC, says. “And in my experience, finding a notary is not any safer than just showing up at the polls.”
SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about voting in Missouri and Kansas.
To vote absentee or mail in your ballot, there are many factors to consider. From the varying deadlines for submitting applications to finding a notary and getting your ballot in the mail in time to be counted, it’s a stressful process. But Curbside KC, aka Curbside Notary, is trying to alleviate those stresses.
“The challenge this year specifically is just being able to have access to a notary in a safe way,” Lehman says. “I just wanted to make it easier and safer and more accessible for people to be able to get ballot notarized.”
Partnering with local restaurants and coffee shops, Curbside Notary is offering events around the city where you can get your ballot notarized by an official notary before you send it in to be counted.
“I just reached out to a lot of folks that I have relationships with through Curbside KC and other projects who have coffee shops or other restaurants or breweries that have space where they are interested in hosting these events,” Lehman says. “So essentially we will send out some volunteer notaries to have a table set up outside so people can come to an outdoor space and quickly get their ballot notarized maybe while they’re getting their morning coffee.”
Curbside Notary is partnering with everyone from Monarch Coffee to Crane Brewing and the process is simple.
Go to Curbside Notary’s website and look through the events they have coming up to see which one works for you. Some events, all run by volunteers, even offer car side notary service (appointments required) for people that are nervous about leaving their cars. Once you arrive at the event with your ballot, a photo ID and pen—Lehman emphasizes that you should not sign your ballots envelope before you arrive at the notary—locate the notary and begin the process. Once complete drop your ballot in the mail and congratulations you have voted in the 2020 general election.
“I think it’s just important that people have the ability to be able to exercise that right even in the middle of a pandemic,” Lehman says.
But their website is more than just an events calendar, Lehman says it also points you to where to request your ballot, helps you figure out if you even need your ballot notarized and even walks you through upcoming deadlines so you can make sure you are staying on track.
“For me, I feel like it’s just giving people as many options to vote as possible so that if someone truly doesn’t feel safe about going to the polls there are alternatives,” she says.
Currently, the service is only available to Missouri voters, but Lehman encourages Kansas residents to do their research and to stay informed.
“Register to vote early. Request your ballot early. Get it notarized early and get it in the mail as soon as possible so that your ballot is counted,” Lehman says.
As of now, there are over fifty events scheduled between now October 25.
Go to curbsidenotary.org and get started today.