Metro-East News

Centreville woman faces vote-fraud charges

A Centreville woman faces vote-fraud charges that accuse her of improperly marking an absentee ballot and perjury charges for allegedly making a false statement.

Shavette M. Wills, 47, was charged on Friday with two felonies.

The charges state that Wills marked an absentee ballot — allegedly not the voter, or a spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of the voter — mailed it and then made a false statement by stating that she signed an affidavit to assist a voter, stating that she had cast a ballot as directed by the voter when she had not cast the ballot as directed by the voter.

The tip came into the Voter Integrity Hotline. It was investigated by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

“We follow up on any complaint we get out of the Voter Integrity Hotline, then we make our case,” said Sheriff Rick Watson.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Wills worked for a campaign or how she obtained the absentee ballot.

State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly charged Wills on Friday.

“We have to ensure unencumbered access to the right to vote and protect the assisted voter process so voters are truly assisted, not manipulated,” Kelly said.

It’s the second round of charges filed in connection with the April 7 municipal elections. Davione Kidd, a newly-elected Alorton trustee, and Brian McDouglar, 38, of Cahokia, were charged earlier this month with tampering with absentee ballots. Those charges are pending.

Kelly also asked for a federal and state investigation into whether challenged absentee votes in the Cahokia mayoral election may have constituted a civil rights violation. Poll watchers for mayoral candidate Gary Cornwell used occupancy permits to challenge absentee ballots cast by mostly black voters.

Kelly has said that he believes defendants convicted multiple times of vote fraud should face mandatory jail time.

Wills had an active warrant on Friday afternoon. Her bail was set at $2,500.