A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Missouri’s Western District says the Justice Department has monitors outside unnamed Cole County polling locations today to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws. U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Don Ledford tells 939 the Eagle that the DOJ monitors will not go inside the buildings.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Cole County clerk Steve Korsmeyer met with the Justice Department on Monday. Ashcroft tells 939 “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that the DOJ expresses concerns about accessibility issues.
“If they are truly worried about whether or not the hallways at the polling places are wide enough or whether the ramps are the right grade or not, they don’t have to check that on election day,” Ashcroft tells listeners.
Secretary Ashcroft says the Justice Department has no jurisdiction to be inside a polling place, unless invited by the local election authority. He’s fine with them having monitors outside the 25 foot electioneering restriction, adding that Missouri leads the nation in election integrity and in accessible, secure voting.
Ashcroft is also unhappy that the Justice Department didn’t notify him when they contacted Cole County’s clerk directly.
“They intentionally bypassed my office, even though if they have problems they like to sue me. But when they wanted to come in and do this inspection, they tried to tiptoe around our office and I applaud the (Cole County) clerk for letting us know,” says Ashcroft.
The Justice Department is in 24 states today, including in Cole County. DOJ says its civil rights division will take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of federal voting rights laws.
Secretary Ashcroft says DOJ should consider Missouri the example for other states when it comes to sound, non-partisan elections. Click here to listen to the full interview with Ashcroft.