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Blunt probe unearths 14 votes from the graves

St. Louis election polling sites were haunted by at least 14 deceased voters in the 2000 election according to Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt.

Elected in November 2000, Blunt told the Platte Republican Association on Friday that one of his first tasks was to investigate election wrongdoing in St. Louis.

In addition to votes made in the names of dead people, Blunt stated, "Thousands of questionable ballots were cast." The secretary of state is the chief elections officer in Missouri.

Blunt reported that he turned over the results of his investigation to federal and state prosecutors because, "The only way to stop election fraud is to punish people."

"The election process matters," Blunt told the group. Under Missouri law, citizens can get a court order to allow them to vote if they are turned away at the polls. However, only 35 of more than 1,000 court orders issued in the St. Louis area were found to be valid during his investigation. "The judiciary's actions manipulated the election results," Blunt stated.

Polling sites in St. Louis remained open later than other sites in Missouri because of an order issued by one judge and shut down the polls.

In recent elections, St. Louis has been plagued by irregularities. I November 2000, sixty-eight people took serious the joking phrase "Voting early, vote often" and were able to vote twice in the St. Louis area Blunt said.

During the past session of the Missouri legislature, Blunt presented comprehensive election reform measures to fight voting fraud in Missouri and to prevent the type of ballot counting confusion that occurred in Florida in last year's presidential election. He is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives and the son of former secretary of state Roy Blunt.

Blunt was the only Republican to win statewide in Missouri, other than President George W. Bush, in 2000. He had been rumored to be considering a challenge to Bob Holden in the 2004 governor's race.