Jay Ashcroft | St. Louis Public Radio

Jay Ashcroft

Supporters of a referendum on House Bill 126 protest in downtown St. Louis on Friday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:46 a.m. Aug. 23 with a comment from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft

Opponents of Missouri’s eight-week abortion ban have dropped their efforts to gather the needed 100,000 signatures to place a referendum on the November 2020 ballot. They claim Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft did not give them enough time to do so by Wednesday, when the law will take effect.

The abortion-rights coalition No Bans On Choice and the ACLU of Missouri have instead turned their attention to making sure state officials cannot block future referendums. On Thursday, they filed a lawsuit against Ashcroft, a Republican, alleging that the laws that allowed him to delay releasing the referendum’s language violate the state’s constitution.

Protesters with the advocacy group No Bans On Choice demonstrate against HB 126 in downtown St. Louis on Aug. 2.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's comments

The abortion-rights group No Bans on Choice faces an "impossible" task to collect enough signatures on a petition that would allow voters to overturn a Missouri law that bans most abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, officials from the committee said Wednesday. 

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Wednesday released the wording for the ballot initiative after a months-long legal battle. 

American Civil Liberties Union representatives say it’s unlikely they would collect the 100,000 signatures they need to place a referendum on the ballot before the law goes into effect on Aug. 28.

Abortion rights activists on Thursday gathered near the Gateway Arch to protest the potential closure of Missouri's only abortion provider. They marched to the Wainwright State Office Building, where some activists went inside. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court won’t reconsider an appeals court decision that effectively delays the ACLU of Missouri from gathering signatures to overturn Missouri’s recently passed eight-week abortion ban.

It’s a move that places the ACLU of Missouri’s referendum in serious jeopardy, because there may not be enough time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures to spark a 2020 election.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday with rejection of transfer.

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court reversed Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the referendum.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court overturned Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the ballot initiative.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court overturned Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the ballot initiative.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Jill Schupp returns to Politically Speaking to talk about the aftermath of the 2019 legislation session, which included passage of a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy and other aspects of Gov. Mike Parson’s workforce development agenda.

The Creve Coeur Democrat is serving her second term in the Missouri Senate. Her senate district includes St. Louis County cities like Creve Coeur, Town and Country, Maryland Heights, Olivette and Ladue.

Maia Hayes joined dozens of abortion rights advocates downtown in protesting the potential shuttering of Missouri's last abortion provider. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4 p.m. on Thursday with the filing of the ACLU's lawsuit:

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft rejected bids to place a newly signed abortion ban up for a statewide vote in 2020, citing the fact that a provision in the measure goes into effect right away.

At least one group seeking to overturn the eight-week ban has gone to court against the GOP statewide official’s action.

Gov. Mike Parson speaks at Ranken Technical College during a day-long tour of St. Louis on Sept. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to soon name a new state attorney general, now that incumbent Josh Hawley has been elected to the U.S. Senate.

And his decision could set up a political version of musical chairs.

Hawley's vacancy will be the second that Parson will fill since he took office less than six months ago.

Parson named then-state Sen. Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor after Parson was elevated to governor, following the June resignation of fellow Republican Eric Greitens.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill shake hands following Thursday night's Senate candidate debate in St. Louis. Oct. 18, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Democrats, tomorrow is judgment day.

Voters will decide if the last two Democratic statewide officials remain in their posts. If U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway prevail, it could provide a jolt for a party seeking to rebound after the disaster of 2016.

Under the new law, registered voters can bring one of four IDs to the polling place: a state-issued driver's license, a state-issued non-driver's license, a U.S. passport or a military ID.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 23 with clarified ruling — A Cole County judge has made it clear that Missouri voters who do not have photo identification will not have to sign a sworn statement in order to vote in November.

Judge Richard Callahan on Tuesday clarified that an earlier court opinion throwing out the sworn statement applied to election officials in the state’s 114 counties and the city of St. Louis. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft had asked for the clarification in an effort to avoid confusion on Election Day.

Updated Sept. 24 with appeal denied — A ballot measure that would change Missouri's ethics laws and redistricting process will go in front of voters in November, an appeals court panel ruled Friday. And the state Supreme Court confirmed as much Monday in denying an appeal.  

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

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft – who’s in the midst of a flurry of pre-election activity.

A Republican, Ashcroft was elected during the state’s GOP election landslide of 2016. That year, Missouri voters also approved a photo-ID requirement at the polls.

Missouri candidates line the hallways at the secretary of state's office in Jefferson City for the first day of filing for office for the August and November elections.
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The coffee flowed, sweet rolls abounded and the candidates flooded in.

Tuesday marks the kickoff of candidate filing in Missouri for the August and November elections. And in Missouri’s state capital, it’s a tradition for candidates to pack the secretary of state’s building to try to become the first on the ballot for their particular office.

Denise Lieberman with the Advancement Project speaks at the beginning of a news conference on voter rights Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in front of the Missouri History Museum.
Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:15 p.m. with comment from St. Clair County state's attorney — President Donald Trump’s election commission is bent on restricting Americans’ right to vote, members of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition said Tuesday.

The statements came the same day the Trump administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met in New Hampshire. The commission, headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was set up in May. It asked states to send in voter registration records.

Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with ACLU comment — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s new voter ID law.

More than 1,000 union members gathered Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in the Missouri Capitol.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:25 p.m. with law suspended — With the submission of more than 300,000 signatures Friday, Missouri’s right-to-work law won't go into effect Aug. 28 and its fate likely will be put to voters in 2018.

The law is suspended, Secretary of State spokeswoman Maura Browning told St. Louis Public Radio. The office still needs to verify that at least 100,000 of the signatures are from registered voters — the minimum to force a statewide vote in November 2018.

She said the count will take weeks and that if there isn't enough, the law will be put in place.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Tues., Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

(Revised Aug. 10 to clarify the activities of Americans for Prosperity) --It appears that Missouri labor groups will be able to block the state’s new right-to-work law from taking effect Aug. 28.

They’ve collected more than 300,000 notarized signatures in the fight to force a statewide vote over the law in November 2018, state AFL-CIO president Mike Louis and other union leaders say. That’s more than three times the number needed.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Jay Ashcroft speaks at the Drury Inn in Brentwood.
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is responding to angry voters throughout the state after he said June 30 that he’d partially comply with a data request from a White House panel investigating voter fraud.

His reasoning, as explained Thursday: He wants fair elections.

Under the new law, registered voters can bring one of four IDs to the polling place: a state-issued driver's license, a state-issued non-driver's license, a U.S. passport or a military ID.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

June’s arrival heralded a new era for elections in Missouri, one in which voters are expected to show identification before filling out a ballot.

Any new law stirs up questions — especially when similar measures in other states make headlines again and again.

Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 12:40 p.m. with comment from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft — Civil rights groups sued the state of Missouri on Thursday over the funding for its voter ID law, which went into effect June 1.

 

The lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court argues that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office is not providing “mandated funding for voter education, free voter IDs and birth certificates and training of poll workers.” The suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, the national ACLU and civil rights group Advancement Project on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters.

Denise Lieberman, with the civil rights group Advancement Project, on Wednesday speaks at a news conference at the Old Courthouse about Missouri's voter ID law. May 31, 2017
Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

A day before Missouri’s new voter ID law takes effect, a coalition of civil rights groups and Democratic politicians warned Wednesday that the law could disenfranchise minority voters and older people.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, whose office oversees elections, scoffed at the concerns, arguing that “if you’re a registered voter, you’ll be able to vote.”

vinwim | Flickr

Lawmakers have been recruited to help in the battle over a St. Louis County judge’s order for a woman to reveal where she lives.

At issue is the state’s Safe at Home program, which is operated by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office and allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking to route mail through a post office box.

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

While Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and potential GOP rival U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner collect millions of dollars in campaign donations, many Missouri officials are raising far less as they adjust to new state campaign donation limits.

Campaign finance reports from Jan. 1 to March 31 also showed that Gov. Eric Greitens spent more than a half-million dollars in that timespan, with a large chunk going toward a media services firm run by Georgia-based consultant Nick Ayers, who also has done work for Vice President Mike Pence.

Three men stand at a podium with microphones at St. Louis City Hall.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft kicked off a media campaign in the marbled rotunda of St. Louis City Hall on Monday to inform the public about Missouri's new voter ID law, which takes effect June 1.

The law that voters gave legislators the constitutional authority to enact in November will require any voter who can’t show a valid photo ID to either provide supplemental documents and their signature or cast a provisional ballot. The first election to be affected takes place Aug. 8.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters Thursday, March 2, 2017, as part of the annual Missouri Press Association/Associated Press Day at the Capitol.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ relationship with the media has had its ups and downs.

Greitens has willingly answered questions from reporters, provided that those questions directly correspond with the topic of the news conference, and has agreed on a few occasions to exclusive interviews. He generally announces things directly to the public on Facebook and Twitter videos, seldom disseminating it to reporters ahead of time.

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of Missouri residents said they wanted voters to have to show a photo ID at the polls, and lawmakers obliged.

Now, state officials must figure out how to pay for the law, which goes into effect June 1.

Missouri Secretary of State's office

Updated Jan. 23 with Ashcroft statement Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is coming to the defense of David Minnick, his appointee to head the division of securities

Minnick has been under fire from Democrats in the legislature because he now heads the office that’s investigating his former employer, Stifel Financial Corps, for “undisclosed allegations.”

Jay Ashcroft
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft is planning to overhaul the office’s operations when he takes over Jan. 9.

Transition team member Steele Shippy confirmed Friday that some employees have been told they will lose their jobs, but he denied that most or all of the office’s 270 workers are being targeted.  "There's been no blanket email or communication that says they are all being let go,'' he said.

"Is the office going to undergo changes? Absolutely. We're doing a reorganization of the entire secretary of state's office."

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