On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri's Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on the program for the third time.
The Republican statewide official was sworn into office in January. He’s in charge of overseeing Missouri’s elections, writing ballot summary language for initiative petitions, registering corporations and regulating financial advisers and brokers.
For months, Ashcroft has traveled the state to detail the voter photo identification law, which went into effect in June. Tuesday marks its biggest test yet: Roughly 50 counties, including St. Louis County, will hold elections.
Also this summer, Ashcroft announced his office was turning over voters’ names, addresses, birth dates and voting locations to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
His peers in Mississippi, New York and California have rejected the request of the commission, which was set up to look into allegations of voter fraud and is led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
- He stressed that a registered voter can still cast a ballot if they don’t have a government-issued photo ID. They would have to show another form of identification, like a utility bill or paycheck, and then sign an affidavit. “That statement says that under Missouri law, you’re supposed to use your government-issued photo ID to vote,” he said. “You don’t possess one, so the state will provide you one for free if you would like. … You go ahead and vote a normal ballot, just as if you had a government-issued photo ID.”
- He also said that someone without an approved form of ID can cast a provisional ballot.
- Ashcroft emphasized he’s not sending some voter details to the federal commission. “We would not provide Social Security even the last four (digits),” he said. “We would not provide how you voted, what type of ballot you receive. Republican or Democrat, you don’t do party affiliation in Missouri.” He’s also billing the federal government $35 — just as anyone seeking that information through a public records request would be billed.
- Ashcroft says his Democratic predecessors routinely provided voter details upon request, including to political parties. He said it may be a good idea for the state legislature to look into whether the secretary of state’s office should be required to turn over that information.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Music: “I Remember” by Radiohead and “Will It Go Round in Circles” by Bill Preston