When Rich Chrismer declared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “…state law doesn’t require curbside voting for disabled people but that his office offers it routinely as a courtesy,” he must have been reading from his own personal rule book again.
Curbside voting is not just a matter of courtesy. It is required by the State of Missouri.
The publication, MISSOURI ELECTION LAWS, issued by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, includes Chapter 115 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and states:
RSMo 115.436. “Physically disabled may vote at polling place, procedure.—1. In jurisdictions using paper ballots and electronic voting systems, when any physically disabled voter within two hundred feet of a polling place is unable to enter the polling place, two election judges, one of each major political party, shall take a ballot, equipment and materials necessary for voting to the voter. The voter shall mark the ballot, and the election judges shall place the ballot in an envelope, seal it and place it in the ballot box.”[Note, also: Sections 2. and 3. for additional information.]Mr. Chrismer goes on to confirm that a disabled voter…was told curbside voting wasn’t available…because of a staff shortage…two election workers had called in sick.
As a Program Specialist for the Saint Charles County Election Authority, I know Stand-by Election Judges are assigned for each election.
- Two (2) Stand-by Election Judges could have been called to replace the missing election judges at Deer Run Library.
All Election Authority Staff reported to the Election Authority Office for work at 5:00 a.m. on April 8, 2014 for Election Day.
- Two (2) Election Authority Staff members could have been sent to accommodate the curbside voter.
How many other polling places were insufficiently staffed? How many other voters were turned away?
There are no acceptable excuses for a five (5) hour wait and disrespectful comments regarding a disabled voter.
The St. Charles County Election Authority has a duty and responsibility to serve the public. Director Rich Chrismer receives a failing mark for this election.
Kathryn (Kate) Runyan, Retired Teacher Democratic Candidate for Director of Elections