A St. Clair County judge lifted a temporary restraining order that was granted to Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell to stop the clerk from processing absentee ballots from Cahokia and Centreville Township.
Cornwell sought a temporary restraining order last week, and on Wednesday, St. Clair County Judge Robert LeChien lifted that order and began allowing County Clerk Tom Holbrook’s office to start counting the ballots.
“Once the facts were laid out, the judge lifted the temporary restraining order. We will treat Cahokia and Centreville ballots the same way we treat other cities,” Holbrook said.
Cornwell argued that “the law that allows them to process absentees 15 days before the election doesn’t take effect until June 1,” he said. Reacting to the judge’s decision, Cornwell said, “Now we are going to have to, as best we can, challenge any suspicious activity, including votes from vacant houses and those that go to the St. Clair County Jail, or those that come from outside of Cahokia.”
Cornwell said Holbrook’s office started processing ballots last week and “we were under the impression that they wouldn’t be processed until today.” Cornwell added, “Fifty percent of all of the mail-in ballots or absentee ballots are in Cahokia.”
Holbrook note there has been extreme intensity in the Cahokia-Centreville Township races. As of Tuesday, he said, “We had about 6,500 early votes or applications for voting by mail for military or in-person voting.” Countywide, about 5,000 votes have been cast that either have been mailed in, voted in person or cast through the military system, he said.
Holbrook said Cahokia had early voting sites and between 800-900 people voted and 1,200 voted by mail. He said there are still 1,000 applications out there that were mailed out but have not been mailed back. Generally, 75 percent of the 1,000 are returned
Curtis McCall, Jr., who is running for Cahokia mayor, said, “We’re running a clean race. Cornwell’s move was a total waste of taxpayers’ dollars and the court’s time. I am confident that the state’s attorney and the county clerk will make sure every voter’s vote counts.”