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Election laws do matter

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks says it’s crazy that absentee votes already cast for him won’t be counted, but what’s really crazy is Parks thinking those votes should count after the state Supreme Court threw him off the ballot.

Parks’ outrage at the court is misplaced. He got himself into this mess with his complacent, maybe arrogant, attitude. As an incumbent, Parks should have had an easy time getting people to sign his petitions, and could have collected enough to survive any challenge. And yet he turned in just 171 signatures – only 35 more than the minimum required. After invalid signatures were dropped, he had only 123.

Parks argued that getting close to the minimum 136 was good enough, and the local electoral board, the circuit court and the appellate court all agreed. Common sense finally reasserted itself with the high court’s unanimous ruling that the law sets a precise number of signatures needed, and that’s not negotiable.

The East St. Louis election board is redoing the ballot, so people who have already cast an absentee ballot will have time to revote. The simple, straightforward solution is to mail a second ballot to those voters. People who got a ballot in person can get a new one.

No one is being disenfranchised as Parks claims. Every vote does matter. So does following election law.