Republican Missouri Senator Christopher Bond today charged that Democrats colluded to commit voter fraud in St. Louis during Tuesday’s elections.
Long lines of voters in St. Louis led a state judge, at Democrats’ request, to order the city to keep polls open an extra three hours. After the Board of Election Commissioners appealed that decision, a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals ordered the polls closed immediately. The polls were then closed, after having been left open for nearly an hour longer than they were in the rest of the state.
Republican presidential candidate George Bush won Missouri, but two key races went to the Democrats. The late Gov. Mel Carnahan defeated incumbent Sen. John Ashcroft and Democrat Bob Holden was elected governor.
“I think the evidence points very strongly to a major criminal enterprise, and if this in fact happened … I believe prosecution of those who committed any of the acts and conduct in the conspiracy to defraud voters should be brought to justice,” Bond said in a press conference.
Republicans were particularly outraged over Ashcroft’s loss, and some in the party had threatened to challenge the outcome if Carnahan, who died in a plane crash Oct. 16, won. The acting governor said he would appoint Carnahan’s widow to serve in his place. Some Republicans had suggested it was improper to promise the seat to someone not on the ballot. Others questioned the constitutionality of a deceased person winning the election.
Ashcroft conceded defeat Wednesday, and said he would not challenge the results. Bond’s office emphasized that his request for a federal investigation is not designed to overturn the results of the election, but rather to punish rule-breakers.