Even though the upcoming consolidated election is 11 days off, Washington Park candidate for mayor Terrilyn Gossett believes that the race has already been decided.
That's because, she claims, fraud is being committed through mail-in ballots, commonly known as absentee voting.
Terrilyn Gossett with husband Roderick Thomas
Gossett, who had lost a race for Canteen Township Supervisor in 2013, is up against Rickie Thomas and write-in candidate Ann Rodgers, the current mayor.
In the village's 2015 consolidated election, a total of 2,275 people were registered to vote, according to village trustee election results posted on the County Clerk's website. A total of 757 votes or 33 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the trustee's race two years ago.
As of March 23, nearly the same number of applications for mail-in ballots from Washington Park voters have been made as all who voted in the local election two years ago. A total of 715 applications have been made, with a total of 463 ballots having so far been returned to the elections office in St. Clair County.
In her examination of mail-in ballot applications, Gossett also found that a decedent named Maurice Dotson had applied for a ballot on Feb. 19. The ballot was mailed to 5721 Warren Ave. on Feb. 23 and returned on March 17.
She also found that a man imprisoned at Terre Haute federal prison, Willie Jackson, applied for and was issued a ballot on Feb. 23. It was returned on March 10.
Records from the county clerk's office show that the address where Jackson's ballot was mailed and where he is registered, 2323 N. 48th St. in Washington Park, also had four other individuals voting by mail-in ballot from there this election cycle. Three of those four, however, have voting records established at 2239 N. 48th St. in Washington Park.
"There are too many people using the same address," Gossett said. "It's abuse."
She said that manipulation of mail-in ballots is unfair because it "doesn't give the little guy a fair shake."