Hawkins wants County Clerk to oversee primary election, not ESL Board of Elections

Ann Maher Feb. 23, 2012, 9:30am

An advocate for disbanding the East St. Louis Board of Elections wants a judge to keep the Board from administering the March 20 primary election.

Matt Hawkins, president of the East St. Louis Alliance for Change, says there's good reason for concern: Primary voters in East St. Louis are going to decide whether the Board of Elections should be dissolved.

Hawkins filed papers with the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk's office on Wednesday seeking an injunction that would transfer election authority away from the Board and to the County Clerk.

Hawkins cites a "high potential for a conflict of interest" and a "general disregard for the Illinois Election Code" as reasons for enjoining the Board from overseeing the upcoming primary election.

In the petition, Hawkins says that the Board has self-interest in the ballot measure failing "so they might retain their jobs."

Last month, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn rejected opposition to the ballot referendum that would break up the East St. Louis Board of Elections. He ordered the referendum go to the voters.

In support of his motion for enjoining the Board from overseeing the primary election, Hawkins says, among other things, that the Board has failed to remove inactive and dead persons from the voter rolls.

As an example, he says former East St. Louis resident Veronica Fisher, who now resides in Virginia, remains registered.

"If the Board was following Section 6-58 of the Election Code, this voter would have been removed after having not voted for four years or two federal elections," the petition states. "Instead, she has recently received several new voter registration cards. Not once in the last four years, however, has she received a Notice of Suspension as required by the Illinois Election Code.

"Mrs. Fisher's address is the same as the Plaintiff's because she is his mother-in-law who once lived at his home."

Hawkins also claims that at least 26 deceased persons remain registered to vote.

He claims that over-registration in the city is problematic.

"With 19,520 registered voters as of January 13, 2012 and only 19,000 persons over the age of 18, according to the United States Census Bureau's 2010 report, it seems that we have now a major case of over-registration, which is fertile ground for vote fraud," the petition states.

Hawkins argues that if voter registration in East St. Louis was consistent with the national average, 63%, then East St. Louis should have an average registration of only 12,000.

"Plaintiff contends that there are as many as 10,000 illegal registrations that would be purged if the Board was in compliance with the Illinois Election Code."

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