ST. LOUIS — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed two new members to the St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners on Tuesday, days after a judge said voters will need to weigh in again on a Democratic state House race because of election irregularities.
Nixon appointed Democratic attorney Erwin “Erv” Switzer, a former chief counsel in the state attorney general’s office, and Republican attorney Al Johnson. They’ll need confirmation by the state Senate.
Nixon in a statement said the appointments will help to restore confidence in elections and “ensure that everyone can exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled last week that the city election board violated state law when counting 142 absentee ballots without envelopes in a Democratic primary for a state House seat.
Burlison said he’s “firmly convinced” those irregularities impacted the outcome of the Aug. 2 primary, during which incumbent Democratic state Rep. Penny Hubbard beat political newcomer Bruce Franks by 90 votes. While Franks won 53 percent of the votes cast the day of the primary, Hubbard raked in close to 80 percent of absentee votes.
Voters have raised other concerns about irregularities to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Two voters told the newspaper that people who identified themselves as Hubbard campaign workers filled out their ballots for them — a violation of state law. The paper also reported that more than a dozen voters said they never claimed to be incapacitated as their applications to vote absentee show.
The special election is scheduled for Sept. 16, though Hubbard’s attorney has said she will appeal Burlison’s decision.