JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has opened an investigation into a polling place closure that may have changed the results of an election. The doors to a St. Charles County polling place remained locked for 90 minutes past opening time on Tuesday, Aug. 7, the day of the primary election. At issue is a polling place located at 2 Dunmore Circle in O’Fallon, the Monticello Clubhouse.
“It is unacceptable that precinct voters were turned away, possibly changing the outcome of an election,” Ashcroft said. “If you are a registered voter who was disenfranchised due to the polling place being locked, please call the elections division at 800-669-8683 and report it to us.”
State law provides the Secretary of State the authority to investigate elections. On election day, the Secretary of State’s office received comments through social media and telephone in regard to the locked polling place doors at Monticello Clubhouse. The office contacted the county election office, which confirmed the doors were locked and malfunctioning due to a lightning strike. Later, the Secretary’s office was told instead that the building owner had changed the locks and the election judges did not have the correct key to enter the building.
Unofficial vote tallies in the Republican and Democrat primaries to represent House District 102 were within one-half of one percent (.05) – close enough for any of the four candidates to request a recount as provided by Section 115.601, RSMo. Out of a total of 7,699 votes cast, just four votes separated the Republicans and 15 votes separated the Democrats.
“We plan to talk to local officials, disenfranchised voters, the owners of the facility who leased the building to the county, and others,” Ashcroft said. “This cannot happen again. Voters deserve to be able to open the door when they show up to cast their ballot.”