At a rally Saturday protesting the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft assured a crowd of about 320 Trump supporters that Missouri senators didn't accept the current election results.

At the event, which was hosted by state Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina, Ashcroft expressed deep mistrust in mail-in voting and said other states should model their elections after Missouri.

In an interview after his remarks to the crowd, Ashcroft said Missourians did not use mail-in ballots at high rates and typically dropped off absentee ballots themselves at their polling place.

"The best way to make sure your vote counts is to vote in person," Ashcroft said. "I am continuing to push in Missouri for it to be safe to have people vote in person."  

Elections in 2020 saw an increase in mail-in voting as COVID-19 spread, and voters cited concerns over going to the polls.

The event took place in the center rotunda of the capitol building. About 80 chairs were set up in a configuration that allowed some distance between groups — but a crowd nearly triple in size of the available seating gathered closely. Still more supporters of President Trump looked down from balconies on the second and third floor of the rotunda.

The crowd was mostly unmasked. Jefferson City has no mask ordinance, and masks are not required in the statehouse.

O'Laughlin thanked "people who love America" for attending, then asked, "There's no annoying fact checkers here, are there?"

O'Laughlin apparently invited several Missouri state politicians, but she told the crowd that many of them didn't show up. This news was met with boos.

Ashcroft and Dan Hartman, a representative from Josh Hawley's office, were two of the officials who did attend. O'Laughlin thanked both men for working towards fairness in elections.

Hartman, in his remarks to the crowd, called for limited mail-in voting and more transparency in elections. He did not elaborate on where he hoped to see more transparency.  

Amid national outcry about the presidential election results, top government and industry officials declared this election "the most secure in American history," stating they were confident thorough records of the voting process would reveal any instances of fraud. 

The event ended with a motorcade circling the building. Honking horns were answered with shouts and cheers. An enormous variety of Trump flags waved at one another, colors ablaze against the concrete-grey backdrop of the capitol. A single police officer watched from his SUV, parked down the street. 

  • Covering Public Health and Safety for Fall 2020, grad student studying investigative reporting and photojournalism. You can reach me at cjmx5d@umsystem.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

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