Jason Kander launched a new group designed to “expose the real motivations” of lawmakers he claims suppressed voters in minority communities in a Tuesday release, but further investigation revealed he worked closely with election officials to create the scenarios he claims led to “voter intimidation.”
Kander started “Let America Vote” Tuesday, and claims the group will oppose voter suppression with a new tactic: shaming lawmakers on social media. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kander asserts that the state of Missouri participated in voter suppression in key Democratic districts during the 2016 Senate race, a race he lost by nearly 78,000 votes.
“Voting in our country has never been easy, and unfortunately it’s never been guaranteed for everyone,” Kander said. “But through the work of brave civil rights leaders, some of whom died for the cause, in the early 2000s we got to a point where most, but still not all, people who wanted to vote could do so.”
“Today, that progress is in danger as laws targeting low-income and minority voters continue popping up across the country,” Kander asserts. “Let America Vote will make the case for voting rights by exposing the real motivations of those who favor voter suppression laws. For the first time, politicians intent on denying certain Americans the right to vote will first have to consider the political consequences.”
Perhaps the most egregious assertion Kander makes in the official statement is that armed members of the Missouri police force were sent to polling locations in an attempt to deter minorities from voting.
“In 2016, in perhaps the most egregious and transparent act of voter intimidation the state has seen in decades, a local election authority stationed police officers outside polling places in minority neighborhoods. What is happening in Missouri is happening around the country,” the statement asserts.
Kander refers to Greene County Clerk Shane Shoeller, who sent members with the sheriff’s office to polls due to higher safety concerns. The county clerk went on to assert that Kander actually worked with the clerk’s office during the campaign, and supported the decision to send officers to the polls county-wide.
“Once again, Jason Kander has demonstrated he cares more about getting his name in the news paper than he cares about getting his facts straight,” Schoeller told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “His statement today was 100 percent false. I worked on a daily basis with Kander’s office in the lead up to the election to ensure that every eligible voter was able to cast a ballot and not once did his office voice any concerns with our plan to provide law enforcement support at precincts throughout our county.”
Kander relied on his experience as secretary of state, asserting that he fought voter intimidation through opposition to voter ID laws, but Schoeller called that background into question as well.
“As County Clerk, it is my responsibility to ensure that every eligible voter has the ability to vote,” Schoeller told the DCNF. “In consultation with local election and law enforcement authorities, we determined that it would be prudent to provide law enforcement support at precincts throughout our community due to the heightened tensions in the lead up to election day. His lack of involvement with local election authorities was criticized time and again throughout his tenure as Secretary of State and this political stunt demonstrates, yet again, that he’s more focused on his own political ambitions than doing the job he was elected to do.”
“To say that no one spoke out against this is just plain false, as there were numerous press stories about the issue because it was so controversial, unusual and inappropriate,” Kander told the DCNF in response to Schoeller’s statement. “During that time, I spoke with folks on the ground in Greene County to help make sure voters did not feel intimidated because of the Clerk’s actions.
Although several groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People opposed the decision, Kander himself didn’t address the matter with election officials on the ground when it mattered.
Schoeller added in a local news story that officers were in plain clothes, and only were equipped with a gun and a badge.
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