The St. Louis Election Board, under fire for more than a decade and the subject of a federal lawsuit, fared only slightly better in the latest state audit — which questioned some of the agency’s practices when it comes to finances, following the state’s open-meetings laws, tracking voters and monitoring campaign finance reports.
The audit was, however, a dramatic improvement from the 2004 audit — which found costly missteps with cell phones, and far more problematic practices. Overall, this latest audit rated the board’s operations as “fair.”
The audit, released today by state Auditor Tom Schweich, faulted the board’s preference for closed meetings — which by law must be only for certain types of personnel or procurement actions.
“Roll call votes to go into closed session were not taken and/or recorded in the minutes, the specific reasons for closing meetings were not included in the minutes, and the closed minute meetings indicate unallowable topics were discussed in closed session,” the audit said, adding that the board “had no documentation that it solicited bids for five procurements.”
The audit also zeroed in on campaign-finance matters, saying the board’s staff “does not adequately track all required candidate reports, so there is no assurance complete and accurate candidate reports are filed when due and late fees assessed for violations.”
A sampling of five campaign committees who have filed reports within the past year found that only one had filed all the required reports — but the audit implied that no action had been taken regarding the other four, who had missed at least one filing deadline.
The audit also asserted that the board staff “does not routinely review and update the database of registered voters, and more than 2,400 voters were registered in the city and elsewhere in the state.”
However, the audit noted that the board “has made significant improvements in this area since our 2004 audit,” when far more dual registrations were found.