Downgraded audit for Missouri Secretary of State’s Office cites several concerns

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A recent audit of the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office gave it a “fair” rating, a downgrade from last year.

The audit cited several concerns within the office, such as control and reporting procedures. It claimed that Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft refused to hand over some information that state law requires.

Ashcroft is serving his eighth year in office, and he’s currently campaigning for the Missouri Governor’s Office this November.

The audit finds that the Secretary of State did not turn over records over cyber security reviews of Missouri’s local election authorities, dropped out of an election registration program without following proper protocols and did not have adequate controls and procedures in a comprehensive state financial report.

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The audit details how the SOS office refused to provide information on the implementation of a new statutory requirement to perform cyber security reviews of Missouri’s 116 local election authorities. Missouri law requires the disclosure of the information to the State Auditor’s Office, and the audit claims that the SOS refused to provide the names of LEAs receiving cyber security reviews, LEAs planned to receive future reviews, or the results of the reviews that have been conducted.

“Going forward, I hope the office, and all governmental entities, will follow the law and respect the duty we have to provide taxpayers with a better understanding of how government is operating and that their tax dollars are being used efficiently,” said Missouri Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick via a news release.

The Secretary of State’s Office left the Electronic Registration Information Center, a multi-state election services program known as ERIC last year. The audit claims this decision will cause LEAs to have less information to identify and correct inaccurate voter records because the SOS did not have a plan to replace the benefits received from membership with ERIC.

 “I can respect why Secretary Ashcroft felt it was necessary to end the relationship with ERIC, but that doesn’t negate the responsibility to have a plan to replace that data so the office has a reliable way to ensure we don’t have dead voters registered in Missouri as we enter a major election year,” said Fitzpatrick.

Furthermore, the audit also cites the 2023 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report – Report on Internal Control, Compliance, and Other Matters, which determined the SOS did not have adequate controls and procedures over financial reporting of accounts receivable.

For a full copy of the audit, click here.


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