ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Missouri Court of Appeals hears arguments on whether to allow a “do-over” election set for Friday in a Missouri State House seat race tainted by absentee vote problems.
A circuit court has ordered the special election in the Democratic primary which incumbent State Representative Penny Hubbard won by just 90 votes.
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Judge Rex Burlison ruled that 150 absentee votes that should have been rejected were counted. Most of them were not placed in envelopes as required by law, Burlison ruled.
Hubbard’s attorney Jane Dueker told the appeals court it’s wrong to throw out an entire election in which more than 4,000 people voted.
“The Voting Rights Act specifically says that you don’t throw people’s votes out for technicalities, and pieces of paper that have no bearing whatsoever on whether these people voted for who they wanted to vote for,” Dueker said.
An attorney for the challenger — Bruce Franks Jr. — told the three-judge panel that Missouri law allows absentee votes to be rejected, even if mistakes are made by an election board and not a voter.
“Courts have said over and over in Missouri that if you don’t comply with the statutes, then the votes don’t count,” said Frank’s attorney Dave Roland.
Roland argued during the original trial, and again with the appeals court, that the law requires absentee ballots to be placed in envelopes with a signed affidavit on the outside, because if there’s no envelope, there’s no mechanism to challenge an absentee vote.
The appeals court is expected to rule soon in the case, because the special election in the Hubbard-Franks race is scheduled for Friday.
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