Feds Threaten 'Oversight' in at Least One Missouri County on Election Day

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Just ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, the Department of Justice has advised a Missouri election authority it “will be reviewing Cole County’s voting program on site on Election Day.”


Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft tweeted regarding the DOJ e-mail on Sunday afternoon.

In the e-mail, dated November 3, 2022, Assistant US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Charles Thomas informed Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer that four DOJ staff, working in two teams, would be visiting each polling place on Election Day and would “have a few questions” for the head election official at each place.

In subsequent tweets, Secretary Ashcroft expressed concern regarding the apparent overreach:

The e-mail references the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, so the purpose of the oversight may be to ensure ADA compliance in terms of accessibility.

Nevertheless, the announcement of the intended polling place visits to the Clerk without attempting to coordinate first or communicating with the chief election authority of the state is disconcerting. What’s more, if the DOJ’s concern is accessibility, why would this review be conducted on Election Day, rather than in the days prior to it?


As Secretary Ashcroft notes, the County Clerk is empowered to determine who may be present at polling locations and, in this case, Korsmeyer has declined the announced visits.

The e-mail also references prior correspondence from Korsmeyer to the DOJ and information provided by him — presumably, if the DOJ’s announcement was in response to an inquiry or request for review by Korsmeyer (as some on Twitter have proposed), he would not be objecting to the visits.

Ashcroft invited the DOJ to meet at his office and, per his interview on NewsTalkSTL, that meeting is now set for later Monday morning. We’ll report on any available updates to the story following the meeting.


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