JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander promised an investigation into the mishandling of elections in St. Louis County that took place April 5, 2016. He released the findings of the Elections Integrity Review Wednesday afternoon.
The report found that a mix-up of ballot types caused shortages in certain types of ballots at some polling locations and excesses in others. Some precincts require more than one type of ballot and different types of ballots may come in differing quantities. In some precincts, the St. Louis County Election Board flipped the quantities of needed ballots.
The short turnaround time between the April 5 elections and the presidential preference primary held March 15, 2016 led to the decision to use paper ballots as electronic voting machines had been fully deployed and were not yet retooled for a larger and more complex election.
Kander stressed that the board had taken full responsibility for their mistakes and that they were working to remedy their own processes to ensure that such a situation did not happen again.
“This was an egregious mistake by St. Louis County officials that should never happen again,” Kander said in a statement. “I hope St. Louis County takes the Elections Integrity Unit recommendations seriously to help ensure that every eligible voter in the county has an opportunity to cast a ballot in every election.”
The recommendations to solve the problem included creating a step-by-step process to assure the correct number and type of ballot reached each location, creating more peer oversight on proofing and ensuring the correct amendment draft, and creating a contingency plan, should another ballot shortage occur.
Kander’s findings follow a report from the House Task Force on Election Procedures and Accountability, which was created immediately after the election debacle. It released its findings in late April.
Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, chaired that task force. While its findings matched up with many of the secretary of state’s, Dogan also said that many who testified questioned whether or not Kander should have taken a more direct role in the process.
However, few of the findings or courses of action offered by the task force suggest that the secretary of state could have changed the outcome of the debacle.
The full findings from the secretary of state’s office can be found here.