Call for Missouri Vote Fraud Investigation

ByABC News
November 9, 2000, 1:23 PM

Nov. 9 -- Missouri GOP Sen. Christopher Bond is calling for a federal investigation into efforts by Democrats to keep polls open in St. Louis until 10 p.m. on Election Day three hours after they were scheduled to close.

In letters to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bond has asked for a probe of what he called highly suspect activity.

I think the evidence points very strongly to a majorcriminal enterprise, and if this in fact happened I believeprosecution of those who committed any of the acts and conductin the conspiracy to defraud voters should be brought tojustice, Bond said in a press conference.

A judge ordered the polls to stay open for three extra hours in St. Louis after voters reported difficulties. Shortly afterward, an appeals court overturned the judges order, but Bond alleges the decision was ignored and widespread voter fraud ensued.

In a key statewide election Tuesday, the late Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan defeated Republican incumbent Sen. John Ashcroft for a U.S. Senate seat. Carnahans widow, Jean, has said she would serve in his place. The Democrats also took the race for governor, with State Treasurer Bob Holden defeating GOP Rep. Jim Talent.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush carried Missouri on Election Day, and his campaign did not appear to be involved in Bonds efforts.

Kevin Coan, the citys Republican director of elections, said the legal battle did not in itself constitute fraud. Some Democrats bristled at Bonds suggestion of criminal activity.If youve got any evidence [of fraud], then come with it, said St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon, a Democrat. If not, then quit talking about it.

Deliberate Scheme?

The decision to keep the polls open came after a day of frustration for hundreds of voters in St. Louis who were turned away from the polls because they were not registered or for other problems. About an hour before the scheduled poll closing time of 7 p.m., Judge Evelyn M. Baker ordered the citys Board of Elections to keep the polls open until 10 p.m.