Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis City Election Board Sued to Release Absentee Ballot Records from Past Four Years

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis City Election Board Sued to Release Absentee Ballot Records from Past Four Years

Article excerpt

An attorney for three people on next week's primary ballot sued the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners on Friday, saying that the officials have refused to release absentee ballot information in violation of the state Sunshine Law.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by attorney Dave Roland, is asking a judge to declare that election officials violated the Sunshine Law by refusing to allow Roland to inspect the applications for absentee ballots from city elections over the past four years, including those requested for Tuesday's election. Roland also wants each member of the election board and its two directors penalized $5,000 each.

Roland is the attorney for Rasheen Aldridge, a candidate for 5th Ward Democratic committeeman who served on the Ferguson Commission; Megan Betts, candidate for 5th Ward Democratic committeewoman; and Bruce Franks, a Democrat running for state representative in the 78th District. They are facing Rodney Hubbard Sr., currently Democratic committeeman, and his wife, Penny Hubbard, who serves as both Democratic committeewoman and state representative.

The lawsuit comes after the Board of Elections denied Roland's July 12 request to do a significant review of absentee ballot applications in the 5th Ward, and its subsequent denial to let him see the records. In his initial request Roland wrote that his review of voting records over 15 elections cycles in the 5th Ward shows a "massive, systematic violation of the state's absentee statutes" and "extreme irregularities in the way that voters have been utilizing the absentee voting process."

In that same letter, he demanded the Election Board review "each and every absentee ballot application submitted to date by any voter from the 5th Ward and to verify through direct contact with each applicant for an absentee ballot that they do, in fact, fully qualify to have applied for, or will qualify to cast, an absentee ballot." The ward encompasses several neighborhoods just north of downtown.

Roland received a strong rejection from Election Board attorneys three days later.

"It is abundantly clear that the demands you have made go far beyond anything required of the board," attorneys David W. …

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