Last month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) — who is running for Senate against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — may have violated election laws by continuing to vote in a town where he no longer lived:
Akin has cast a ballot in Town and Country 10 times since he and his wife, Lulli, purchased the Wildwood home at the end of 2007. Most recently, he voted in the April municipal election in Town and Country.
Both addresses are within Akin’s 2nd Congressional District. But the law says voters must cast their ballots in the specific jurisdiction where they live.
Akin pays taxes and spends his time in his new hometown. His staff says it’s his official residence. And Akin himself has been telling people since 2009 that Wildwood is his home. What’s more, he appears to have no plans to return to his old home, as the family partnership that owns the land there has applied to the city to subdivide the property for development.
In Missouri, when you vote, you swear to the accuracy of your home address — “to provide inaccurate information to election workers is a felony violation of state election laws.” Yet Akin continued voting in his old hometown, which is 18 miles away, but located in his congressional district.
That is, he kept voting there until the story was published. Today, the Post-Dispatch reports that Akin changed his voter registration to Wildwood on the same day the paper’s first report was published:
The five-term congressman submitted his new address to the St. Louis County Election Board on May 31, although it can take several days to process registration updates.
“When there is a story published about you possibly being registered to vote at the wrong address, changing your registration that day won’t really help — or make you look innocent for that matter,” quipped progressive blog Fired Up Missouri. When asked about the issue by KMOX’s Mark Reardon earlier this month, Akin said he had done nothing wrong, and compared himself to soldiers who are serving in Iraq but still vote in American elections:
The fact that Akin potentially committed felony voter fraud is ironic given that he is an outspoken supporter of voter ID and other laws to combat fraud, as Reardon points out. In 2006, Akin voted for a measure to require voters in federal elections to show photo ID, and while backing a similar bill in 2002, he said, “Congress must take a firm stand against voter fraud.” “The right to vote is one of our most sacred rights.”
State Rep. Stacey Newman (D) has called for an investigation and has urged Akin to drop out of the Senate race. Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch editorialized that Akin’s case shows why voter ID laws are not good policy, as they would not have stopped Akin from voting where he didn’t live, but would disenfranchise many voters, especially minorities and the elderly.