I wrote earlier today about state Sen. Will Kraus (R- 8) and his enthusiasm for photo voter ID requirements that have the potential to disenfranchise 220,000 voters. I had read earlier in the day about the St. Louis County election snafu last Tuesday – the county didn’t have time to reprogram voting machines between the municipal elections and the primary elections a couple of weeks ago. Subsequent database problems resulted in too few ballots at around 60 precincts. I didn’t realize that the two issues were related, however, until I read a post on the Progress Missouri team blog that first points out that:
Sen. Kraus actually sponsored the 2014 legislation that changed the date of the Presidential Primary from February to March, in spite of warnings the new date was too close to April municipal elections and could cost millions, $37.5 million to be exact. His bill gave local election authorities just 3 weeks to prepare for another election.
Yes, those in charge of running elections in St. Louis County should be held accountable for much of what went wrong on Tuesday. But so should lawmakers like Sen. Kraus, for sponsoring legislation that got us into this mess in the first place. Elections—and bad bills—have consequences.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that Kraus might be a little apologetic about ignoring the all the evidence that it would be difficult – especially for larger muncipalities – to hold two elections so close together? But not our boy Will. He’s too busy making lemonade out his own personal lemons. He’s trying to get credit for punishing the board of election for their failure to manage the problem he tossed into their laps, noting in a press release today that, “Missouri voters deserve a better election process, plain and simple” […] “The board [i.e., St. Louis County Board of Elections] members need to take responsibility for this and allow the governor to appoint new members.”
But Kraus is more than a strutting malefactor trying to divert attention from his own culpability by pointing out that the other guys did a bad job. The Progress Missouri piece adds an observation that enlarges the perspective from which Kraus’ posturing should be considered:
Sen. Kraus is currently sponsoring extreme Photo ID legislation that could make it harder for around 220,000 registered Missouri voters to cast a ballot—namely women, seniors, students, and minorities.
So while we appreciate Sen. Kraus sharing his concerns for voters who may have been disenfranchised on Tuesday, we’d feel a lot better if he also cared about the 220,000(!) registered voters that could be be prevented from voting under his extreme proposal.