JEFFERSON CITY — Mitch Hubbard, the Republican candidate for Missouri secretary of state, said the biggest challenge facing the office is to guarantee fair elections and stop voter fraud.
"Regardless of our party, when we go to vote, we expect to see ballot language that is clear and right," the 35-year-old Fulton resident said.
PERSONAL: 35. He is married to Denise Hubbard. They have seven children.
PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican.
CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: mitchhubbard.com
OCCUPATION: Manager of a McDonald's restaurant.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in education, Central Missouri State University; juris doctorate, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
BACKGROUND: Worked for Missouri Division of Youth Services, 1996-97; Missouri corrections officer, 2004-06; central Missouri coordinator for Missourians Against Human Cloning.
WHAT'S THE JOB?
The secretary of state prepares all statewide ballots and certifies
statewide ballot measures proposed by the General Assembly. The office has the responsibility to canvass, certify and publish election results. The secretary of state regulates securities and enforces state securities laws. The office
also operates a division for maintaining corporation registrations and
other corporate filings. The business division of the secretary of state's office commissions notaries public and registers all Missouri businesses. The office maintains various official records for the state, including the Missouri Register and Missouri Code of State Regulations. It also maintains the state's official archives. The secretary publishes the Official Manual of Missouri.
The State Library is part of the secretary of state's office. Secretaries of state serve four-year terms. The salary is $104,608.
Valinda Freed worked with Hubbard during a 2006 fight against constitutional Amendment 2, which allows scientists in Missouri to perform all federally approved stem cell research.
That's when Hubbard first expressed interest in becoming secretary of state.
"He was appalled at the job the secretary of state had done," Freed said. "He thought it was not handled properly."
The secretary of state is supposed to summarize ballot propositions and constitutional amendments in plain language for voters. But Freed said Hubbard felt the ballot language provided by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office did not represent the original language of the initiative petition.
"He felt it was totally misleading; people didn't know what they were voting for," Freed said. "When he saw the intervention that the secretary of state ... did, that definitely reinforced his thinking."
Hubbard said the secretary of state’s office helped supporters by writing a biased summary. “Carnahan has glaring examples of writing poor ballot language,” Hubbard said in an interview with The Associated Press.
After the amendment was approved by Missouri voters, Hubbard joined the Missouri Coalition for Cures Without Cloning, a group that challenged Carnahan's ballot language in court, calling it "insufficient" and "unfair." A Cole County Judge ruled in the group's favor, but it lost on appeal.
Freed said Hubbard was passionate about the stem cell issue because "he was extremely committed to the cause of life." She said that while working against the ballot initiative, Hubbard always went above and beyond.
"He took all the free time he had to make sure that every member of the team had exactly what they needed," Freed said. "If you really wanted to sum him up, he is a strong Christian patriot."
Hubbard said he became a Christian in his mid-20s, and it "transformed my life. My perspective on life changed."
If he is elected, Hubbard, who manages a McDonald's restaurant, also wants to focus on election fraud.
"The system's not working, and we do have election fraud," Hubbard said. He supports legislation that would require voters to show government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot, and he opposes letting voters mail in ballots.
Hubbard also supports current state laws that allow people to vote absentee only if they can show certain reasons for not being able to make it to the polls on Election Day.
“We must make sure that there is not fraud happening,” Hubbard said. “That is the key. So it’s my position that we do need a voter ID, but we need to take steps to make sure no Missourian is disenfranchised.”
He also calls for requiring college students to serve as poll workers at least once to graduate.
Besides election-related issues, Hubbard said he would look to help small businesses by creating a link on the secretary of state’s Web site that would take Internet users to a list of local merchants. And he would make it a priority for the state library to teach students about American history.
“We have a situation in our country where a lot of our high school students don’t have a grasp of American history,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.