FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recently, discussions between the Secretary of State's office and the United States Department of Justice uncovered problems with the voter registration lists used during the 2004 federal election. In last year's election, 29 Missouri counties and election jurisdictions had more persons registered to vote than people of voting age living in the jurisdiction. In one Missouri county, over 150% of the voting age population was registered to vote in the 2004 federal election.
Clearly, a problem exists. It defies common sense that we would have more registered voters than people of voting age in any Missouri county. Missourians deserve fair elections, so even though these problems occurred before I took office, I'm working hard to help the local election authorities clean up their lists and fix this problem.
Over the past several weeks my staff, along with staff from the Department of Justice and the Missouri Attorney General's office, has discussed a number of steps that our office has taken, and intends to take to help Missouri counties comply with their statutory obligation to maintain their voter roles. Additionally, all parties agree that we share the same goal of ensuring fair and accurate elections.
In order to further address some of these issues, the Department of Justice requested that the State of Missouri enter into a formal consent decree as a means of enforcing the state's performance of these measures. However, the State's attorney, the Missouri Attorney General was unwilling to enter into such an agreement on behalf of the state.
I strongly believe that a costly lawsuit over this matter is unnecessary, unjustified and unwise. Litigation should be a last resort...something done when parties can not agree on an appropriate course of action. The Secretary of State's office and the Department of Justice share the same goal of ensuring fair and accurate elections. I'm disappointed that, rather than cooperating with the State of Missouri in order to achieve our shared goal, the Department of Justice has instead chosen to pursue this needless lawsuit.
Rest assured that despite this distraction, the Secretary of State's office will continue to work to ensure Missourians can have confidence in their elections.
« view more News Releases