East St. Louis Alliance for Change president Matt Hawkins hopes for a strong public showing at a hearing this Friday involving inactive voters on the East St. Louis Board of Elections roster.
"I am elated to finally get the court's opinion on whether or not the East St. Louis Board has been following the law," Hawkins said Tuesday. "This web of interpretation has been used to keep people from knowing the truth."
Hawkins filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners Feb. 9, seeking the list of inactive voters. The board denied his request. He then filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court Feb. 22, seeking the courts to compel the East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners to release the list.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn presides over the case.
"We're hoping that he sends a message that when you have a duty to uphold the law and you do not, the courts will deal harshly," Hawkins said.
Hawkins said he expects McGlynn to order notices sent to voters on the list, and if they fail to respond, they will be removed from the active voter registration list before November.
Hawkins said he expects McGlynn to mandate a timeline to complete tasks, including the payment of penalties.
Hawkins also said he expects McGlynn to determine if penalties are warranted and if so, how much of a penalty and the timeline for payment.
"For the last 127 years, the City of East St. Louis has gotten away with electoral murder, and now the web of lies that made it possible will begin to unravel Friday," he said.
He said he expects more than 6,000 "dead" voters to be removed from the rolls before the November election.
"We also hope that the election board will be instructed to remove these persons on a monthly basis so that there is little or no backlog," he added.
James Lewis, executive director of the East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, retired on July 13. Kandrice Mosby, the assistant executive director of the board, said no replacement has been made. St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic gives the board permission to start the process of appointing a replacement.
The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 407.