East St. Louis Board of Elections director responds to criticism

Ann Knef Aug. 11, 2011, 9:00am



East St. Louis Board of Elections Executive Director James Lewis played down criticism of election processes in his city saying voter tabulation is done "expeditiously based on information we receive from precincts."

Lewis was responding to remarks made by grassroots activist Matt Hawkins, president of the group East St. Louis Alliance, who is seeking to close the city's elections board. Hawkins claims the system in East St. Louis is corrupt and that city residents bear the burden of being taxed twice - by the city and county -for election services.

Hawkins is seeking support to get a question put on a ballot for city voters to decide whether the board should close.

Lewis said he was not familiar with Hawkins' effort and would therefore not comment on it.

Hawkins said recently that he is tired of the "false outputs" produced by the East St. Louis Board of Elections which favors the county's Democratic Party.

He alleges that on election nights, the East St. Louis Board of Elections counts votes after the county clerk's office tabulates its results and "knows exactly what is needed."

Lewis said that vote counting in East St. Louis is done independent of the county.

"It is not based on voter tabulation coming from anywhere else," Lewis said.

Hawkins has pointed out a number of voting irregularities, including multiple adults registered to vote at the same address.

Lewis said that kind of information would have to be presented to the board in order for an inquiry to be made.

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