FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2021
Contact: JoDonn Chaney, (573) 526-0949
Ashcroft Lists Voter Integrity Legislation Safeguards
Jefferson City, Mo. — After releasing the findings of a voter fraud investigation involving two St. Charles County voters, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft today went on record to make clear his intentions regarding voter integrity by announcing his plan to keep voting secure and accurate in upcoming Missouri elections while making sure no voter is turned away from the ballot box.
“We want to be proactive rather than reactive. We are not trying to enact legislation because something happened, we want to establish legislation that will prevent something from happening,” Ashcroft said. “Look, when you introduce variations into the voting process; like ballot curing, you open the door for potential problems – especially when some jurisdictions have last-minute procedural changes while others do not.”
“I want to make my position clear to anyone who thinks that the number of fraud cases should determine whether legislative change is necessary,” Ashcroft said. “One case or one thousand cases – our response is going to be the same. We will push for legislation to make sure voter fraud doesn’t exist, and the voting rules applicable to one voter apply to all voters. It’s that simple.”
In the 2020 legislative session, Secretary Ashcroft pushed for changes in election procedures but the Missouri legislature failed to pass any election reform measures. “I can only do so much - I don’t make the laws,” Ashcroft said. “It is up to our legislators to protect the integrity and accuracy of Missouri elections.”
In recent days, Ashcroft has received numerous phone calls and letters from concerned citizens regarding voter integrity issues. “People are being told one thing when the truth is the opposite.” Ashcroft maintains that Missouri elections are secure but believes there should be measures in place to secure the integrity of future elections.
Secretary Ashcroft is working again with the legislature to put in place safeguards that would include:
- Photo ID requirements for in-person voting coupled with strong ID requirements for absentee voting.
- Using hand-marked paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines.
- Enact legislation, with the necessary funding included, that would allow the secretary of state to audit election results.
- Develop procedures to limit the handling of cast ballots by election authorities and eliminate the curing of absentee ballots.
- Require election authorities to maintain accurate, up-to-date voter rolls and withhold funding if necessary for noncompliance and allow the secretary of state’s office to audit the list of registered voters for accuracy and accountability.
- Enable physical cybersecurity testing at the local level by the secretary of state’s office or authorized party that includes penetration testing of vendor machines, programs and systems.
- Only use election equipment that is not capable of internet connectivity to avoid the possibility of electronic manipulation.
- Disallow election law or rule changes less than 26 weeks prior to a presidential election.
- Eliminate third-party compensation for those who solicit voter registrations.
Ashcroft says the “gold standard” to protect the integrity of elections is to have citizens vote in-person on Election Day, but realizes that’s not possible in every situation. “In-person voting with a photo ID makes it difficult to manipulate the system and easier to identify fraud. As well, hand-marked paper ballots and using equipment that is not capable of being connected to the internet makes voting less susceptible to suspicion and therefore, may increase voter confidence and turnout.”
Ashcroft concluded by saying: “It’s not about one side or the other, it’s about protecting future elections for all voters. Having a set of defined parameters for running good elections makes it clear to voters after the election that the system worked and therefore they can have confidence in the results. You can have both – secure elections and voter participation. My job is to make sure that elections in Missouri are held to the highest standard and that every registered voter has the opportunity to vote.”
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.