This article is being posted after-the-fact to preserve the information. In St. Louis... last minute okay's by a judge to hold polls open after hours; another judge overturns the late closing; and another very interesting coincidence? The New York Post ran a full page listing of every single state poll-closing time.... except Missouri (not mentioned in the article). This type of news was lost in the Florida charade of the chads... single, double, triple hanging chads; puffed and pregnant chads, along with twisted, shuffled and bent ballots.
in St. Louis
More reports of voting
'irregularities' in Missouri
By Julie Foster
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
Combine abandoned voting machines, unguarded ballot boxes, confusion over poll closing times, accusations of criminal collusion and throw in a misleading phone-banking message by Jesse Jackson and you end up with election practices that have thrown St. Louis, Mo., into chaos during what is proving to be the most hotly contested election in American history.
It all started the day before the Nov. 7 election when now-congressman-elect William Lacy Clay, son of the incumbent Democrat William Clay, announced polls would be open late on election day. Then, Tuesday evening, Democrats went to St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Evelyn Baker, alleging that up to 33,000 registered voters had been improperly removed from voter registration rolls. As a result, voters faced significant delays attempting to prove they were eligible to vote. In St. Louis, registered voters who do not participate in the previous year's election are automatically removed from rolls if they do not respond to notices sent by the election board.
Baker ordered the polls to remain open in St. Louis until 10 p.m. to ensure the delays did not prevent voters from casting their ballots due to time constraints. Polls across the state are legally supposed to close at 7 p.m.
Just minutes after Baker issued the order, a phone-banking effort by Jesse Jackson commenced, indicating the Democrat activist had pre-arranged the activity. Jackson had recorded an automated message explaining that polls would remain open until 10 p.m. and that votes could be cast even later at the Board of Election Commission -- until midnight. But this latter part of Jackson's message was not included in Baker's order.
Attorney Thor Hearne represented Republicans in the appeal of Baker's decision, which was granted by a three-judge panel at 7:45 p.m. the same day. The new order required that polls be closed at 8:15. However, locals report voting continued until after 10 p.m. and Jackson's automated phone message continued to be sent to residents after the 8:15 deadline, Hearne said.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, judges at 29 of the city's nearly 400 precincts walked away from their posts, leaving ballot boxes unattended, Hearne added. The next day, St. Louis police located an abandoned voting machine in a vacant lot in the 3900 block of Olive Boulevard. The attorney's investigation into the chaos also revealed that 300 or more unregistered people voted after they were given court orders allowing them to do so. Hearne does not know how the individuals received the court orders.
Democrats insist the voters had been mistakenly removed from registration lists and, therefore, were rightly given the court orders allowing them to vote. Yet, Election Board Chairman Floyd Kimbrough defended the accuracy of the rolls.
Yesterday, Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., called on the FBI and the U.S. Attorney to investigate the situation in St. Louis.
"What I saw and heard on Tuesday night is an outrage," Bond said at a news conference at his office in Clayton. "This is the future of our system. This is the integrity of the ballot box." He added that anyone participating in what he calls the attempt to "defraud" the voters should be charged with criminal voter fraud.
Hearne also fears criminal collusion accounts for the election-day chaos.
"Our concern is that everyone deserves a fair election," he said, "and the concern that this raises is really that this was a systematic effort to try to tamper with the conduct of this election as a way to influence the results for the Democratic Party and create opportunity for vote fraud."
Clay says the accusations are baseless.
Julie Foster is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.
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