KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -- Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas was turned away from his polling location Tuesday morning because poll workers mistakenly thought he wasn't in the election database's system.
Lucas, a Democrat, made a video about the importance of voting before he headed into his normal polling location, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, to cast his ballot shortly after 7 a.m. But he said a worker couldn't find his name in the system, even though he had cast ballots for himself at the site several times during 11 years of voting there.
I made a video this morning about the importance of voting and then got turned away because I wasn’t in the system even though I’ve voted there for 11 years, including for myself four times! Go figure, but that’s okay. We’ll be back later today! #Vote #KCMO pic.twitter.com/3mYNrO6jmC— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) March 10, 2020
Lucas did not mention in the video his own issue with casting a ballot, but stated the following in the caption to the video:
"I made a video this morning about the importance of voting and then got turned away because I wasn't in the system even though I've voted there for 11 years, including for myself four times!" Lucas said. "Go figure, but that's okay. We'll be back later today!"
Lucas went on say, "We will be following up. Most people don't have my privilege to come back."
A representative for the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners said officials began working immediately on figuring out why Lucas wasn't showing up in the poll location's list of eligible voters. After a brief investigation, they found out the poll workers accidentally transposed the mayor's first and last names.
The election representative said the poll workers are elderly and may not be as familiar with the modern technology at polling places. She said the mayor relayed to the Election Board that maybe it's time for them to utilize younger, more tech-savvy volunteers to run the polling locations. The election representative said that's a valid concern.
Mayor Lucas and his communications team vehemently deny that the mayor said that.
"I think frankly this is a sign that we need to do much better," Lucas said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
He said elected officials spend a lot of time talking about election security, but his situation highlights another situation.
"I think the biggest threat to America's elections is not letting people vote, and I think we saw a little of that challenge today," he said.
Lucas initially thought the problem was that he was using his utility bill for identification instead of his driver's licence, which has expired. He said most people wouldn't have had the pull to figure out what happened.
"A regular person would just say, 'I guess I'm not on the voter rolls,'" he said.
KCTV5 News spoke with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft Tuesday afternoon mere minutes before Mayor Quinton Lucas went back to the polls to cast his ballot. Secretary Ashcroft says Lucas putting this on Twitter was a misstep.
"The idea an individual and a trusted position as mayor would falsely denigrate elections in a way that would have people not vote, is reprehensible. It's an attack on a fundamental part of our government and our elections. I'm amazed and I never thought the mayor would stoop to such a level," Secretary Ashcroft said.
KCTV5 News told Mayor Lucas what Secretary Ashcroft said.
“Oh secretary Ashcroft. The video was recorded before I ever came in. Respectfully, the secretary doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s all I have to say. I’ve actually never met him. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice person who has no idea what my morning was like today. And it’s kind of disappointing he would say such a thing,” Mayor Lucas responded.
"He knew there wasn't a problem. He didn't want his problem taken care of. He wanted to go on social media to mislead people about our election system. I can't think of any other reason for that and it's disgraceful," Secretary Ashcroft said.
KCTV5 News asked Mayor Lucas why he decided to put his narrative morning on Twitter instead of calling the election board.
“I share everything on Twitter. Let me talk to you, I share everything on Twitter. I shared my cell phone number on Twitter lately. I’ve done all types of things in connection with it, so I like to let the public know what I’m up to throughout the day. You’ll see pictures of sunsets from my apartment balcony. It’s just a thing I do. And I think frankly it’s good, it gave you a great story to talk about today. Are we good? Gave you a great story to talk about today. Are we good?” Mayor Lucas said.
Mayor Lucas made a point of saying if Secretary Ashcroft wants to give him a call, he’s open to discussing elections on the local and state level.