Top Election Official Fights Fraud Budget Cuts

By John Celock

Missouri’s Democratic secretary of state is battling Republican legislative leaders to fund a voter fraud unit in his office.

The GOP-controlled state House of Representatives voted earlier this week to cut $79,000 from the state budget that would used to fund staffers in Secretary of State Jason Kander’s (D) election integrity unit. Kander created the unit last year in an effort to provide voters with a place to report election fraud issues. The move comes as Republican legislative leaders move closer to placing a voter identification referendum on the November ballot.

“I am disappointed that Republicans in the Missouri House of Representatives are less interested in protecting the integrity of our elections than I am,” Kander said in a statement. “I started the elections integrity unit to investigate both voter fraud and voter access issues.”

Kander’s election unit has determined there has been no complaints of voter impersonation reported to state elections officials since 2002. The state Legislature has been pushing for the state to have a voter identification program, a move that Kander opposes.

Kander is pushing for the GOP-controlled state Senate to restore funding for the program, a move that was endorsed by the Joplin Globe on Friday.