An Alton woman says in a campaign video that when she learned her Uncle Mike has been voting from a residential facility in Godfrey that cares for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she felt someone was using him.
"It troubles me greatly," said Becky Unnerstall whose concern and admiration for her uncle comes across as genuine in the two-minute video for Republican candidate for Madison County Clerk, Steve Adler. "It breaks my heart...I want to protect him."
The video features a conversation between Unnerstall and Littleton, who has resided at Beverly Farm for 28 years. Voting records for Littleton show he has voted in five elections since 2008.
When asked if he has ever voted, Littleton, whose cognitive skills are limited, says "no." When asked if he knew who the president was, he answered "God."
At the end of the video, Adler says that what has happened in Littleton's situation is "not just an abuse of family trust, but an abuse of public trust."
He said that residents are promised "I voted" stickers, and what ends up happening is "employees vote for the patients."
"The reality is that these are abuses of 100 years of Democratic occupation of the Madison County Clerk's office," Adler says.
If elected Clerk, Adler said his administration would "clean up" supervision of voting at nursing homes in part by sending a Democratic and Republican judge to facilitate voting.
Adler is running against Deborah Ming-Mendoza, incumbent Democrat, who called the video "cruel" for the way it portrayed Littleton and "misleading" to the public.
"I feel that it was totally inappropriate to take advantage of a resident who had expressed an interest to vote," she said. "He is a citizen of the United States, he is a registered voter. That is my job that he has a chance."
Ming-Mendoza said that in fact, Republican and Democrat election judges go to residential care facilities such as Beverly Farm to help people vote.
She said the law requires her to send a letter right before the election to administrators of such facilities with a list of registered voters asking if they are still residents and if they wish to vote in the upcoming election.
"And when I get a list back, we start the process of preparing a ballot just like any other voter," she said.
As for the process of voting, someone sits with residents and the entire ballot is read. If the resident does not want to vote in a certain race or unable to voice a selection, the next item on the ballot is read. Upon completion, the ballot is placed in an envelope for processing.
"This is the law," Ming-Mendoza said. "What bothers me the most is that the man who wants to be County Clerk made these accusations. They put his name (Littleton) and address on Facebook... that is not right."