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Ashcroft: Election security vital for Missouri

  

With the 2022 elections on the horizon, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft hopes to see voter ID and hand-marked paper ballots at polling places in the future. 

“We’d like to get to a real good government photo ID requirement that makes sure that every registered voter can vote, but also we know who you are to make sure that people aren’t cheating the system,” Ashcroft said. “We’d love to go to handmark paper ballots — I’ve never known anybody that said you can hack a No. 2 pencil.”

Ashcroft, a Republican, testified before lawmakers from both chambers last month encouraging them to pursue photo ID and cybersecurity next session after his office identified two alleged instances of voter fraud. 

Ashcroft joined Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” from Lincoln University in Jefferson City to discuss election security in Missouri and on the national level. With other states’ results called into question by Republicans in the wake of the 2020 elections, Ashcroft said he was looking for other security and accessibility measures to improve Missouri’s elections going forward, including the addition of more polling places. 

“Elections are important,” he said. “They’re not about the Secretary of State inherently, they’re not about the local election authority, they’re about we the people making a decision and we need to do whatever is necessary to make sure there are enough polling places, there are enough ballots, so that people can go in and vote.”

Infrastructure

Rep. Don Mayhew, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, Tightline Public Affairs’ Jack Cardetti, and attorney Stephanie Bell joined the show to discuss infrastructure investments and projects, including the replacement of the Rocheport Bridge.

Replacement of the bridge, which connects Cooper and Boone counties and carries around 12.5 million vehicles a year, has been in the works for several years. Gov. Mike Parson and several other officials were on hand last week for a groundbreaking ceremony on the first of two new bridges. 

“This is a generational investment, a $240 million project that really took what could have been an economic impact and turned it into an economic boon,” Treece said. “It’s also I think a tangible reminder of what can happen when good people at the state and federal level work together to get things done.”

The panel touted outgoing U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s contributions to the project over the years and his prioritization of the state’s infrastructure. 

“There’s no one on this panel or anywhere who says good roads and bridges aren’t the government’s responsibility,” Cardetti said. “This is the difference between having a Roy Blunt — who I don’t always agree with — in the Senate: He likes to govern. The politics of it he’ll do and he’ll do it well, but he likes to govern and the fruits of that are coming to central Missouri.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here.