Twenty-five years ago, Roy Blunt was elected to be Missouri's Secretary of State. In that capacity, he oversaw things like initiative petitions and elections, just like the people who served before and after him in that role.
Blunt's direct knowledge of SOS operations make his campaign's latest salvo really hard to understand. As reported by The Beacon, Blunt's spokesman Rich Chrismer says "Missourians have every right to question [Robin Carnahan's] judgment and whether she can be trusted to make an independent or impartial decision on" whether or not the ShowMe Better Courts' petition should make the ballot. While I'm sure that buddy James Harris appreciates the attempt to divert attention away from his apparent failure to collect enough signatures, the attack is dishonest and dumb.
As Blunt should recall, signatures are verified by local election authorities -- not partisan officials in Jefferson City. Once signatures are submitted to the SOS office, they're sent to local offices for checking. The SOS office will then undertake the task of adding up the numbers provided to them. Moreover, this whole process is done in the open -- there's not a lot of room for discretion. Either Harris & Co. have the signatures, or they don't.
I know this undercuts the Blunt campaign's entire argument, but it's how things work.
It's possible, I suppose, that Blunt ran a shadier, more partisan operation as Secretary of State, but the record indicates that he relied on local election authorities as well. From an 08/25/92 story in the Post-Dispatch about that cycle's petition to create term limits for lawmakers:
Blunt said enough signatures had been verified by local election officials to certify the petitions for limiting state legislative terms... Frank Ybarra, a spokesman for Blunt's office, said local election authorities checking the petition signatures had no mechanism for verifying whether a circulator was registered to vote in another county.
Stupid facts. Always getting in the way of stupid campaign attacks.