JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, pre-filed two bills for the 2016 legislative session aimed at preventing fraud throughout the elections process.
The two bills would broaden investigatory and prosecutorial authority for voter fraud cases and institute more extensive monitoring on polling places.
Kraus said Missouri needs to implement more protections against fraud in elections.
“Ensuring that only citizens cast votes and that those votes are counted properly is fundamental to our democracy,” Kraus said. “Fraud and corruption in elections jeopardizes our entire system of government. Protecting this process must be a priority.”
Kraus pre-filed a bill that would give the Secretary of State’s Office the authority to investigate and prosecute cases of voter fraud in the state. Under the bill, county prosecutors could still handle these cases, but it would extend that authority to the Secretary of State as well. In comparison to the violent crimes they often handle, voter fraud can sometimes fall lower on a county prosecutor’s priority list, Kraus said.
“As the chief election officer in the state, protecting our elections from fraud should be a very high priority for the Secretary of State,” Kraus said. “Giving that office the authority to investigate and prosecute will ensure that cases of voter fraud are not overlooked in Missouri.”
Kraus also filed a bill that would extend oversight of the elections process by allowing election challengers to monitor polling places from the time they open to the time the ballots are delivered to the election authority.
“This bill will produce oversight and transparency on election day,” Kraus said. “It will help ensure that there is no tampering with votes after the polls are closed.”
Election challengers are non-partisan volunteers who supervise polling places. Under current law, they are only allowed to monitor the election workers until the poll closes to the public. They do not supervise the collection of votes by the election authority.
The 2016 legislative session begins January 6.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.