Metro-East News

Vote fraud investigation underway after early voting begins

With early voting underway for the March 15 primary, election officials are already reporting incidents of voter fraud.
With early voting underway for the March 15 primary, election officials are already reporting incidents of voter fraud.

A Washington Park voter showed up to cast her ballot early to find someone had already submitted a mail-in ballot under her name.

This happened four times in St. Clair County since early voting began last week, authorities said.

“We have received credible information that at least four voters attempted to vote early in person only to find that someone had voted by mail already under his or her name,” St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said.

The woman, who was not identified, lives on Warren Avenue in Washington Park. Another voter lived on Park Avenue in Washington Park, and two other voters reside in the Roosevelt Homes in East St. Louis.

Two voters also have reported being asked to provide blank ballots by individuals in the East St. Louis area. One voter resides in the Orr-Weathers Apartments and the other in Roosevelt Homes. Kelly’s office is investigating the identity of those soliciting the blank ballots.

In addition, state’s attorney’s investigators have confirmed that four applications for mail-in ballots are invalid because the address listed on the application is of an abandoned house on Forest Boulevard in Washington Park. The county clerk’s office has denied the application for those ballots and removed those registrations from the voter rolls. The post office marked the ballot applications from the address “Return to sender” and returned them to the clerk’s office.

The sites are all within the area of two contest primary races: County Board District 2 and Canteen Precinct 3. The county board race is between Joan McIntosh, Harry Hollingsworth and Marvin Strode. The precinct committee race is between Debbie Moore and Angie Rodgers.

“I can’t elaborate on the degree of cooperation we are receiving from potential witnesses since this investigation is ongoing,” Kelly said. “But it goes without saying that we need people to come forward and report if they have been a witness or been victimized by this kind of activity in order to apprehend and prosecute whoever is doing this.”

At Kelly’s request, the St. Clair County Clerk’s Office and East St. Board of Election Commissioners will track and report any information obtained regarding voters attempting to vote in person only to find that a mail-in ballot has already been sent in their names. Both election authorities are aiding the investigation, Kelly said.

Since 2012, Kelly has charged ten cases of vote fraud in St. Clair County. Four defendant have been convicted. Six cases are pending.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer