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Schmitt: ‘Election integrity very important’ in wake of federal suit

  

Attorney General Eric Schmitt said ensuring election integrity was an important fight after throwing his weight behind an election challenge in four battleground states last week. 

“Free and fair elections that we have here in the United States are the envy of the world,” he said. “Election integrity is very important, so one of my jobs as attorney general is to defend that principle, and when we see that question in other places, it’s important for me to stand up and fight… It actually diminishes Missouri’s vote and Texas’ vote if you have illegal votes being cast in other places.”

The suit, filed by the state of Texas and backed by Schmitt and other state attorneys general, sought to challenge the presidential election results in Georgie, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The challenge was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday.

Schmitt appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics to discuss this year’s elections, as well as his office’s new Cold Case Unit. Schmitt touted the experienced leadership attached to the new unit and planned collaboration with law enforcement agencies across the state.  

“We’ve had a very strident focus on protecting victims in my time in office, and now that I’m getting a full five-year term, we’re going to continue to do that,” he said. “The passage of time does not diminish that loss for a family; the passage of time does not absolve a murderer. We were able to announce our first case last week in the Cold Case Unit, and we’re just getting started.”

Local control

This week’s panel included state Reps. Gretchen Bangert and Mary Elizabeth Coleman, St. Louis County NAACP President John Bowman, and Patrick Lynn of the Kelley Group. The group discussed the 2020 elections, COVID-19, and local control, offering differing opinions on the lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page over restrictions enacted on bars and restaurants last month. 

“There’s a strong opinion in the area that I represent that without health there’s no wealth,” said Bowman. “They’re prioritizing the fact that the numbers are increasing and spiking, and the people who are mingling together are not exactly helping the community. Public health officials have made it clear — the mask options are definitely a need, but an open gathering of a large number of people, the numbers are spiking.”

The lawsuit stalled in court last week.

Lynn said he believed the issue stemmed from a lack of leadership on both the state and federal levels and that communities would benefit from working together on a cohesive plan. 

“It’s not necessarily a bad idea to let local communities decide what’s best for them,” he said. “There should be more collaboration by region. … I think St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County — they should be getting together, and their elected officials should be coming up with a plan that works for all of them because it’s so easy to cross the river and cross a county line, and we’ve had none of that. That’s a failure of Democrats and Republicans.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.