MARSHALL, Mo. — Paul Gieringer let Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft talk for half an hour, explaining the state's complicated new voter ID law to a crowd of two dozen at the local community center, before raising his hand.
"How many cases of voter fraud have there ever been in Missouri?" Gieringer, 61, asked.
"We know it's happened," said Ashcroft, 44, noting that he didn't have any hard numbers, although he cited a 2010 incident in which a couple claimed a false address on their voter registration forms to vote in a primary election. "How many are an OK number? Is it OK to have one or two?"
The Republican secretary of state didn't mention that the new law he's traveling the state to promote — aimed at combating voter impersonation — wouldn't have stopped the couple, a fact his office later confirmed.
"He brought up the red herring of voter fraud," Gieringer later told NBC News.
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