Hawkins is confident that voters will reject ESL election law

Ann Maher Mar. 19, 2012, 11:25am


Matt Hawkins, president of the East St. Louis Alliance for Change, is confident that a referendum he fought to get on tomorrow's election ballot will succeed.

"I think if we have a high turnout we'll do just fine," Hawkins said Monday afternoon.

Hawkins has been fighting opponents for nearly a year to get the question, "Shall the city election law be rejected?" put to city voters.

In January, Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn ruled that the question could go to voters.

Hawkins has called the East St. Louis Board of Elections - which operates independently from the St. Clair County Clerk's authority - "corrupt."

He points to the fact that there are more persons registered to vote in the city than there are citizens over the age of 18.

Inactive voters and deceased persons also remain on the voter rolls, Hawkins claims.

And, East St. Louis residents are taxed twice by the county and the city for the same election administration services "which are currently performed well below acceptable standards by the East St. Louis Board of Elections," he stated in court papers.

Citing a "strong potential" for conflict of interest, Hawkins recently sought to enjoin the elections board from counting ballots in tomorrow's election, and instead have the County Clerk tabulate them.

A hearing on the matter set last Friday had to be continued because of a procedural "snafu," Hawkins said.

Hawkins said groups such as the NAACP are providing institutional support to encourage voter turnout.

He said he would be "watching closely" as the votes are counted at the East St. Louis Board of Elections office.

"I'll be observing in the counting room to make sure everything is handled properly and it's accurate."

He said he hopes that results are available by 7:30 p.m.

Polls close at 7 p.m.

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