The candidate you vote for is between you and God — but if a person helps you fill out your absentee ballot, that's a public record.
That's according to St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Julian Bush, who issued a swift ruling yesterday in a lawsuit filed by attorney David Roland against the St. Louis Board of Elections. Judge Bush's decision opens up four years of absentee ballot applications and envelopes in races involving the Hubbard family, a Democratic Party dynasty in St. Louis — and Roland drove to St. Louis this morning from his home in Mexico, Missouri, to begin in inspecting them today.But just minutes before he was set to arrive at the Board of Elections office, Roland says he heard from the board's attorney. He informed Roland that the board would not be releasing the information after all. Instead, they'd be reevaluating their options.
Defendants point to section 115.493 RSMo, which provides in pertinent part that election authorities shall keep all “processed ballot materials in electronic form and write-in forms” for 22 months, and that they allow no one to inspect them during that time. They assert that the ballot envelopes are “processed ballot materials in write-in form.” The phrase “processed ballot materials in write-in form” is awkward at best and gobbledygook at worse, and it is certainly not self-evident that absentee ballot envelopes are such things.Roland has also filed a second lawsuit on Franks' behalf, this one an election challenge. That suit is on hold, per Judge Bush's order, under the Secretary of State certifies the election result. After Bush's ruling yesterday, Hubbard's attorneys asked for a change of judge in that case.
[T]his lawsuit will do nothing less that chill voter turnout, prompt the republican general assembly to change absentee voter laws to make it harder to vote - and use this case to justify a "yes" vote on voter ID in November. The lawyers for the plaintiff's in this case have just changed state law. If you vote absentee, your application and reason for voting absentee is now public information and anyone can request a copy of your application. They can see why you voted absentee. If your health is an issue, now anyone can know your private health information.Colona then posted a Google doc of all the voters who'd requested an absentee ballot in the case, intimating that they — not his clients — could face felony charges over their votes.
Why did this happen? Since the plaintiff's can't find any evidence of fraud, they want to send investigators out to everyone who asked for an absentee ballot and accuse them of fraudulently voting.