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Secretary of state candidates clash over photo voter ID

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The two Republican candidates for secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft and Sen. Will Kraus, have both put photo voter ID policy front and center in their campaigns for the office. However, Kraus intoned Monday that the measure has now become a point of contention between the two.

In a release, Kraus questioned why Ashcroft had not turned in an initiative petition that would place photo voter ID on the ballot this November. The deadline for submission was Sunday, May 8.

“Jay Ashcroft made it clear that he could get voter ID on the state ballot. He received a lot of attention, including a statewide tour, on the process. I would think that effort yielded hundreds of thousands of signatures,” Kraus said. “If he was unable to finish what he started, then he should have still submitted the signatures collected, so those that showed support for the initiative petition would be counted. I signed that petition. I encouraged others to sign the petitions as well. I think we all deserve to know the results.”

Ashcroft campaigning in Jefferson City on Tuesday
Ashcroft campaigning in Jefferson City.

A representative from the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that only five initiative petitions with signatures were submitted Sunday. One establishes campaign contribution limits, one prohibits new sales taxes on services, two increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco projects (one would finance early childhood education, and the other would finance transportation), and one would legalize medical marijuana.

None involve creating a constitutional amendment for photo voter ID.

Ashcroft’s response also did not directly address the decision not to submit at least what signatures he had gathered, but instead simply restated the goals of the legislation.

“After months of traveling the state, building support, and encouraging Missouri families to contact their legislators, I am humbled that the people of Missouri have rallied in the effort to secure our elections and we are one step closer to ensuring that Missouri voters will have their voices heard on photo voter ID,” Ashcroft said in a statement. “Throughout this process, I have been in regular communication with legislative leaders and have worked with countless Missourians to contact their legislators and encourage them to do the right thing and pass photo voter ID.”

Kraus was skeptical of Ashcroft’s assessment.

“The entire process makes you wonder if it was just a political stunt to collect contact information for potential supporters,” said Kraus. “Whatever the case may be, those voters that signed the petition did not get a chance to make their voice heard.”

Ashcroft however did take time to criticize the legislature for the compromise it made on Kraus’ bill which would allow certain voters the opportunity to vote without a government approved ID, provided they signed an affidavit confirming their identity under threat of perjury. Ashcroft also voiced his displeasure over changes made to absentee voting.

“My proposed language ensured that a photo ID could have been required for all voters, not just in-person voters, and unfortunately that provision was removed,” Ashcroft said. “It’s clear that Missourians overwhelmingly support photo ID and I will continue traveling the state, building support for this common sense measure.”