Prior to the 2009 Alorton municipal election, St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney challenged 500 questionable voter registrations. People either had to prove their identities at hearings or else have their names purged from the voter rolls.
But when a citizen recently questioned the absentee vote in the Caseyville municipal election of Ace Hart, a Democratic insider and former deputy coroner who now lives in Florida, Delaney didn't ask Hart to prove his eligibility. When Delaney found out that Hart, who still has a house in Caseyville, wasn't registered to vote in Florida, it was case closed.
It was only because a private citizen, Brad VanHoose, pursued the matter that Hart and his wife's votes have been thrown out and their voter registrations purged. VanHoose filed a complaint with the post office, and a postal inspector reported what Delaney probably knew or at least suspected: that Hart's main residence is Florida.
It's outrageous that Hart thought he could get away with voting in Caseyville even though he lives in another state. Hart said he disagreed with the ruling, but the fact he's not challenging it speaks volumes. State's Attorney Brendan Kelly should be investigating whether to file vote fraud charges.
And it's disappointing that Delaney almost let Hart get away with it. Delaney plans to have extra judges in Caseyville on Election Day as a precaution because this contentious election is ripe for fraud. But when he had a specific allegation of fraud brought to him, he chose to do the bare minimum.
Delaney said he didn't contact Hart during the investigation, but he did call him afterward to let him know his vote wouldn't be counted. He said he felt he owed his friend that courtesy.
We wish Delaney's allegiance rested with the voters, who depend upon him and his office to ensure fair elections.