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Missouri Secretary Of State Jay Ashcroft Wants Special Legislative Session For Election Changes

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, in a photo taken at St. Louis Public Radio on June 28, 2018
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio
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Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, in a photo taken at St. Louis Public Radio in 2018

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum on the latest episode of Politically Speaking about why he wants a special session for election administration legislation.

The GOP official said he was disappointed lawmakers didn’t resuscitate Missouri’s government-issued photo identification requirement to vote. A judge struck down a key portion of that requirement, and lawmakers would have to pass a bill to effectively make the photo ID mandate active again.

Ashcroft also wants legislators to place a proposal on the 2022 ballot raising the threshold to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to two-thirds. That idea is a priority for some GOP legislators but also has opposition from both sides of the political spectrum.

Here’s what else Ashcroft discussed on the show:

  • Why he wants some of the election-related proposals passed this year instead of next year.
  • Whether Missouri will have to move its filing date back in case state legislative redistricting maps aren’t completed until 2022. That process is facing a tight timeframe because of delays in delivering census data that’s critical for drawing maps.
  • Whether Missouri should adopt runoffs for statewide and congressional contests. He also responded to criticism that those proposals are specifically aimed at depriving former Gov. Eric Greitens the U.S. Senate Republican nomination.
  • How his office handled the COVID-19 pandemic and whether a CDC announcement that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks except under certain circumstances affects the debate over returning to in-person work.

Before earning his law degree, Ashcroft worked as an engineer after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

He first ran for office in 2014, when he lost to Democrat Jill Schupp in the 24th Senate District race. He came back two years later and won a competitive GOP primary before defeating Robin Smith by a wide margin to become secretary of state. Last year, he defeated Democrat Yinka Faleti by a landslide even though he was outspent.

Ashcroft recently declined to run for next year’s U.S. Senate contest but is widely seen as a gubernatorial contender in 2024, once Gov. Mike Parson departs because of term limits.

Ashcroft is the son of John Ashcroft, who is the only Missouri Republican ever elected to two consecutive gubernatorial terms in office, and who also served as a U.S. senator and U.S. attorney general.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jay Ashcroft on Twitter: @jayashcroftmo

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Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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