Republican Jay Ashcroft faces Democrat Robin Smith in the Secretary of State’s race this fall. Ashcroft clinched the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary election by defeating Lee’s Summit State Senator Will Kraus. Smith, a former St. Louis television newscaster, also beat her Democratic opponents.
Ashcroft supports a measure that will ask Missouri voters in November if a photo ID should be required to vote.
“In Missouri, we can very easily implement a photo ID system that still gives every eligible voter the right opportunity to vote, that doesn’t disenfranchise anyone, but makes it harder for people to cheat and that’s exactly what we should want in our elections,” says Ashcroft.
Smith says such restrictions are unconstitutional.
“I will not allow anyone to violate our Missouri constitution with an extremely flawed provision that unlawfully targets and then restricts access to the ballot box for qualified, fragile voters like elderly, veterans, persons with differing abilities, even college aged students, minorities, women and others,” says Smith.
She cites recent state and federal court decisions in Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kansas that ruled similar laws are illegal and a violation of federal law.
Ashcroft blames current Secretary of State Jason Kander for St. Louis County’s municipal election problems in April. More than 60 precincts there received incorrect or too few ballots. No election officials were fired in connection with the issues.
“The Secretary of State’s office has enough authority when it comes to local elections, but we didn’t have a Secretary of State that was working with local election authorities to make sure that they had the resources and were equipped and had what they needed to do to pull off a good election,” says Ashcroft.
He says the county had problems with a military portal and electronic voter registration database, which he says are both handled by the Secretary of State’s office. He says two municipalities also added candidates to the ballot after the required deadline.
Election officials also said there wasn’t enough time between the March presidential primary and the April municipal election to reprogram touch voting machines.
Smith says voters should decide if the Secretary of State needs more authority for local elections.