To protect the right of voters come election day which is just four short weeks away, a voter integrity program has been developed in St. Clair County.
Led by O'Fallon attorney Paul J Evans, the aim is to ensure that voters' rights are protected and that every vote is properly accounted for.
“I am merely trying to help others see that the law is being followed,” Evans told the Record.
With Illinois’ past history of alleged voter fraud at the polls, the program aims to make sure each vote that is cast is a valid vote and follows the letter of the law.
“The voter integrity program is simply to ensure every person casts a valid vote and those that are entitled to vote may vote,” said Evans. “We’re not trying to diminish an individual’s right to vote.”
The need for oversight aligns with the problems that Illinois has notoriously had at the polls in the past.
“In the past, there have been voting numbers that seem to be higher than what the valid voting population is in a region,” said Evans. “We again support the right of individuals to vote but we believe that every vote should be of equal weight and value. That’s why we’re simply trying to ensure that the laws are followed.”
Evans, a Republican, had been involved in a voter integrity initiative in the 2014 general election in which Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier narrowly fended off a well-financed, last-minute attack in his bid for retention.
Karmeier, a Republican first elected in 2004,was retained with 60.77 percent of the vote total. To be retained to office, judicial candidates need at minimum 60 percent voter approval. With 230,122 "yes" votes to 148,546 "no" votes, Karmeier surpassed the threshold by 2,922 votes among those who cast ballots in the 37 southern Illinois counties that make up the Fifth Judicial District.
In the same election, oversight also was provided in a circuit judge race between Republican Stephen McGlynn and Democrat Heinz Rudolf. St. Clair County voters chose McGlynn by a margin of 50.53 to 49.47 percent. McGlynn received 37,875 votes to Rudolf's 37,086 votes, a difference of 789.