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Amid concerns, Nixon appoints two new members to St. Louis Elections Board

   

ST. LOUIS – Gov. Jay Nixon visited the St. Louis Election Board of Commissioners Tuesday to appoint two additional members to the four-member board. Erwin Switzer and Al Johnson, a Democrat and a Republican respectively, will immediately begin their work on the board, though they will have to be officially confirmed by the Senate when it meets again.

The appointments come during a time of uncertainty for the election board. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison found last Friday that the board had erred in not providing envelopes to its in-person absentee voters during the Aug. 2 elections. The envelopes allow a candidate to challenge the election results.

This prompted the judge to call for a new election between Rep. Penny Hubbard and her primary election opponent, Bruce Franks, as the number of voters not given the envelopes (142) was larger than Hubbard’s margin of victory (90).

Nixon said he hoped the two appointments would raise voters’ confidence in the election process.

“Too many people fought too long and too hard to win the right to vote, and every effort must be made to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised,” Nixon said. “Voters must have faith and confidence in the integrity of elections, and having these people will help restore that confidence and ensure that everyone can exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, a frequent critic of Nison’s said on social media that the new appointments were “a start.”

Both Switzer and Johnson are active St. Louis attorneys. Both of their terms will end on Jan. 10, 2017, meaning the only elections they will oversee are the Franks-Hubbard House election and the Nov. 8 general.