As his eyes scanned the electronic ballot before him, Bob Burns, then-Democratic candidate for Missouri state representative, noticed something strange.
His name wasn’t on it.
“They gave me the wrong ballot, and I caught that,” Burns said. “But what if I hadn’t caught it?”
All those hours campaigning, walking door-to-door, in the heat, in the cold, trying to defeat Tony Leech for the 93rd District seat in the state house of representatives—it would all be for nothing if Burns and the voters of his district were accidentally given the ballots for the 92nd District, as Burns was.
The 92nd District covers Lemay and parts of Affton. Burns ended up defeating Leech Tuesday night, but the win came more than 12 hours after Burns cast his vote.
“If I would lose a race over something like that, it would be devastating,” Burns said.
Before Burns could even get to the ballot, he said a Republican poll worker asked him for photo identification, which is not required by law in Missouri.
“Please shore these things up and get the checks and balances in place,” Burns said he told Rita Heard Days, director of elections for St. Louis County. Days and other election officials were not immediately availible to comment Tuesday.
Burns was given a new, correct ballot and completed his vote.
Both issues seemed to be simple human error, Burns said, but the thought of losing out on votes by accident is hardly reassuring.
“It could cost you the race,” he said.