In his first major hurdle as the state’s top election official, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he is happy with how the recent voting process worked in the Show-Me State.
“I think it went great and I think the 116 local election authorities did a fabulous job,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft also praised the thousands of poll workers who were manning the polls.
“We had good turnout and had large margins, which every election authority always prays for,” he said. “And for the fourth time this year, we’ve showed the rest of the country how to do an election.”
He said while Missouri’s elections went “smoothly,” he questioned processes used in other states that allowed people to vote outside of the traditional polling place.
“If you want to have a secure election the best way to do it, regardless of partisanship or political parties, you have people go in-person to vote on the assigned election day,” Ashcroft said. “It’s just easier to keep everything secure.”
With the chaos that has surrounded the past two weeks, Ashcroft said that he worries Americans may be losing trust in the system that makes us who we are.
“When you run an election, you not only have to make sure that it runs well, but you have to run it in such a way that people understand that it was run well and we don’t have that,” said Ashcroft. “When people can’t have faith in how the election was run, your “winner” doesn’t have the mandate and the legitimacy that they should have attached to their victory.”
The GOP election chief also pointed to a Missouri law which allows local election officials to begin counting absentee and mail-in ballots five days before the day of the election.
“I think our election authorities did a fabulous job of getting those absentee and mail-in ballots counted in that same five-day period,” Ashcroft said. “For the most part, I don’t think people could even see a delay. And if there was, it was maybe 15 minutes or a half of an hour, which is awesome.”
Another differentiating factor that Ashcroft pointed to was a relatively simple and transparent process to ensure every vote in Missouri is counted on election day (or night). In some cases, a recount can be requested or automatically performed when two contending candidates finish within a 0.5% margin of each other.
Recount or not, Ashcroft said the voting apparatus in Missouri is sound.
“We do have audits that are required to verify that our equipment is counting the same way we count when we look at the ballots,” said Ashcroft, who added audits are performed by each county’s clerk.
No matter the outcomes in other states, Ashcroft said right now the election process needs stability.
“We all need to follow the same rules and you need that consistency,” he said. “And you need that transparency so people can have faith in the election.”