Vote early, vote often in St. Clair County

We live in an area where it was once proven that the dead vote, where silver suitcases of cash go out to buy votes, where 32 people were registered at the same address and where precinct committeemen with fistsfull of absentee or early voting ballots make the rounds.

Our area has lived with vote fraud for a very long time. Much of it has been investigated and reported on these pages.

So it was a positive change to see St. Clair County get ahead of this election’s fraud. State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly this week said four people tried to vote early, only to find that someone else had already voted in their place. Two others were asked to hand over blank ballots. Four asked for absentee ballots to be sent to abandoned shells of houses.

It is almost like those income tax cheats who file for you and steal your federal refund: the best defense is to file early. Now we’ll need to vote early?

Kelly has charged 10 vote fraud cases since 2012, with four convictions and the rest pending. He is pursuing these cases and asking for the public’s help.

Vote fraud robs democracy, so reporting the thiefs is an act of patriotism. Curbing the practices requires more voters to decide they will back a candidate based on beliefs rather than who slips them $5 or $10.

But for those whose altruism isn’t developed enough to keep our elections honest, prosecution seems like a good alternative.