Friday, July 09, 2004
Elections in St. Louis: I confess I haven't followed internal Missouri politics very closely, so I can't independently assess all of today's New York Times editorial on the efforts of secretary of state Matt Blunt.
But the editorial does contain one howler:
Right now, Mr. Blunt is trying to stop St. Louis from holding early voting this fall. The Missouri legislature voted to join the majority of states that allow voters to cast ballots in advance of Election Day. St. Louis - where many voters were wrongly prevented from voting in 2000 because of the incompetence of election officials - announced plans for early voting, a move that would give eligible voters a better chance of making sure that their ballots were properly cast. [emphasis added]
This is what we in the news business call a "lie."
On election day 2000, Democrats went to court and alleged that they had a client who was unable to vote and the polls should be stay open late -- to 10 p.m., instead of the 7 p.m. time mandated by state law. One problem -- their "client" was a dead man. Thankfully, the understanding judge allowed the Democrats to replace the dead man as the complaintant with one of their staffers -- who'd already voted successfully.
I'm curious to see how the Times would back up that assertion. As John Fund points out:
St. Louis is one of several American cities in which registered voters outnumber residents of voting age. State Auditor Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, issued a scathing report on the Election Board's procedures last month. It found that nearly 10%, or 24,000, of the city's voters were "questionable." The report tabulated 4,405 dead people, 2,242 felons, 1,453 people voting from vacant lots and 15,963 also registered somewhere else in Missouri or Illinois. At least 935 of the felons, or some 40%, had apparently cast a ballot in a recent election.
The operative phrase on voting in St. Louis appears to be "vote early, vote often."
How many is the Times' "many." Four? Five? Twenty?
Don't look for facts on the Times' editorial pages.