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Praise, criticism in audit of St. Louis election board

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)
The typical badge of a vote cast, the "I Voted" sticker.

A new audit of the St. Louis city Board of Elections Commissioners finds the agency has made progress in reducing the number of duplicate voters on its rolls, but the report released today found other issues at the board.

Auditor Tom Schweich says his review found about 2,400 duplicate names that appeared on St. Louis city voter rolls - some at two addresses in the city, others who were also registered in another jurisdiction. That's well below the 15,000 duplicate names that a 2004 report found, but Schweich says any duplication creates a chance that someone will be able to vote twice.

And Schweich says there were other issues that led his office to issue a "fair" grade - the third lowest of four rankings.

"There was also an issue of depositing fees in the wrong account, not following the Sunshine laws in terms of open meetings, and not adequately following campaign finance rules," Schweich said.

The Board of Election Commissioners says it has begun to implement most of the suggestions made in the audit. But Gary Stoff, the Republican deputy elections director, says the board can only reduce the number of duplicate voters if other jurisdictions also clean off their voter rolls.

Stoff says the board is disappointed with the "fair" grade, but found the audit useful.

"Someone from the outside can come in and point out things that maybe the auditee was doing, but not documenting the way they should have so that anyone would know," he said.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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