Tags: Sen. | Bond | Charges | Vote | Fraud | St. | Louis

Sen. Bond Charges Vote Fraud in St. Louis

Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM

A heavy Democrat turnout in St. Louis led to the ouster of Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., and the election of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan in Missouri's U.S. Senate race. In the governor's race, Democrat Bob Holden was elected over Republican Jim Talent by a narrow margin.

A St. Louis judge ordered polls to be kept open past their scheduled 7 p.m. closing time, but a three-member appellate court panel overturned the ruling 40 minutes later. Bond charges that some polls remained open despite the appellate decision.

In letters to U.S. Attorney Audrey Fleissig and FBI Director Louis Freeh, Bond said there was evidence that "taped phone calls were prepared in advance to be delivered in the area alerting voters to the fact that the polls would remain open until 10 p.m. election night."

Judge Evelyn Baker Tuesday afternoon ruled in response to a petition filed by congressional candidate William "Lacy" Clay that St. Louis polling places remain open until 10 p.m. because long lines and lack of voting materials were depriving people of their right to vote. The Missouri Court of Appeals, however, ordered the polls closed at 7:45 p.m., and the Election Board ordered polls closed at 8:15 p.m. Board Chairman Floyd Kimbrough said, however, the last vote was cast about 10 p.m.

"Despite the court order, numerous witnesses have stated that voters were registered and permitted to cast ballots late into the evening in direct violation of that court order," Bond wrote.

"Furthermore, witnesses have stated that individuals registering voters and encouraging voting were aware of that order and knowingly ignored the court order, thereby committing voter fraud.

"Additionally, election judges at approximately 29 polling places left their positions at 7 p.m., leaving ballots and ballot boxes unattended for an undetermined amount of time. Considering these and other events that transpired over the course of the evening, there is reason to believe that collusion existed to commit voter fraud and voter fraud occurred on a wide scale throughout the city of St. Louis."

In addition to an investigation, Bond also urged Fleissig to take custody of the ballots and election records to ensure against "further tampering."

A tearful Ashcroft Wednesday conceded the election and said he would not challenge the outcome despite rumblings from other Republicans that they were considering a challenge.

"I reject any legal challenge to this election," Ashcroft said.

Gov. Roger Wilson has said he would appoint Carnahan's widow, Jean, to take her husband's place in the U.S. Senate. She said she would accept the two-year appointment to keep her husband's dreams alive.

Carnahan, his son, Roger, and campaign aide Chris Sifford died in a plane crash en route to a campaign appearance. It is the first time a dead man has been elected to the Senate. Before the crash, some polls showed Ashcroft leading in the race.

Carnahan received a winning margin of 73,557 votes in St. Louis and won by 48,911 votes statewide. In the governor's race between Democrat Bob Holden and Republican Jim Talent, the margins were also impressive – a 64,299 St. Louis margin for Holden and 21,248 votes statewide.

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A heavy Democrat turnout in St. Louis led to the ouster of Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., and the election of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan in Missouri's U.S. Senate race. In the governor's race, Democrat Bob Holden was elected over Republican Jim Talent by a narrow margin. A...
Sen.,Bond,Charges,Vote,Fraud,St.,Louis
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2000-00-09
Thursday, 09 November 2000 12:00 AM
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