American Opinion: A Missouri GOP official effectively admits that widespread vote fraud is a Republican myth
American Opinion: At least Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who plans to run for governor in 2024, is honest about what’s really going on here. It’s not because something happened. It’s because something might happen — such as increased voter participation that could undermine Republican domination.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft effectively admitted last week that his party has concocted from whole cloth the assertion that election fraud was rampant in the 2020 election and therefore justifies the draconian new voting restrictions that Republicans have been jamming through state legislatures around the country. There was minimal to no discernible fraud. The effect on the election outcome was nil.
But to hear Republican leaders around the country talk about it, election irregularities and fraud required immediate action. The election was stolen. President Donald Trump was robbed of his rightful second term.
It was, of course, utter nonsense. But the stolen-election myth has been repeated so often that nearly 60% of Republicans accept it as fact. So many were convinced of the stolen election, thousands gathered near the White House on Jan. 6 and followed Trump’s instructions to march up to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” to stop the fraud.
Ashcroft now acknowledges the myth.
“We want to be proactive rather than reactive,” he stated Sept. 13 as he issued his wish list of items he wants the GOP-dominated Legislature to enact in the name of election security. “We are not trying to enact legislation because something happened. We want to establish legislation that will prevent something from happening.”
As Missourians headed into the 2020 election, Ashcroft gave a speech in which he bragged about how, under his watch, the state had conducted four “safe, secure elections” last year. They were fraud-free, by his own admission. Nothing happened, thus there’s nothing to prevent — unless the thing Ashcroft and the Republicans are trying to prevent is participation by certain sectors of the public who are likely to vote for Democrats .
Yet Ashcroft sees the need to prevent future nonexistent fraud. “I feel really good about the security we have at the state level,” he told lawmakers in February. He now wants lawmakers to revive a photo ID requirement before voters may cast a ballot. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson reported, Ashcroft also wants county election officials to be required to purge their voter rolls.
The people least likely to have a photo ID are seniors and those who don’t own a car or need to drive. The people most likely to be purged from voter rolls are those who have moved since last registering to vote. They tend to be low-income residents who, by virtue of their financial situations, are prone to be transient. Purging them from the rolls is a quick way to block them from voting. Ashcroft also wants to prevent local election officials from helping voters correct mistakes on absentee ballots.
At least Ashcroft, who plans to run for governor in 2024, is honest about what’s really going on here. It’s not because something happened. It’s because something might happen — such as increased voter participation that could undermine Republican domination.