A new reporting system in St. Clair County aims to help the public report voting violations during Tuesday's general primary.
Residents suspecting voter suppression or voter fraud may call a hotline at 618-825-2366, email email@example.com, or submit a written complaint to the election department of the St. Clair County Clerk's Office located at 10 Public Square in Belleville.
For the first time, an email system immediately will send all complaints to investigators with the U.S. Attorney's Office, St. Clair County State's Attorney Office, St. Clair County Sheriff's Department and St. Clair County Clerk's Election Department.
State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, assistant state's attorneys and investigators will be stationed at polling places during voting and at the St. Clair County Board of Elections and East St. Louis Board of Elections while votes are counted.
"Voting is a sacred right which must be protected from voter suppression and voter fraud," Kelly said. Kelly recently convicted two people for felony and misdemeanor violations of state election laws. Two more cases are pending related to the last election.
St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson said deputies have been assigned to investigate complaints as they are received. "We need free and fair elections without unlawful interference," Watson said.
The hotline system was applauded by U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton who said his office, as well as the federal Department of Justice, is committed to "protecting the electoral process from the evils of voter fraud, voter intimidation and campaign wrongdoing."
The Department of Justice has concurrent jurisdiction when candidates for federal office are on the ballot, such as Tuesday's primary election and the general election in November.