In 2004, East St. Louis, Illinois, precinct committeemen Charles Powell, Sheila Thomas, Jesse Lewis, and Kelvin Ellis, and precinct worker Yvette Johnson, were convicted of conspiracy to commit election fraud after participating in vote buying activities in the 2004 election, including submitting budgets that would allow city funds to be used to pay voters to vote for Democrat candidates.
This isn’t by any means an isolated case, or an unusual state of affairs. Election fraud has a long history in this state. In 1982, an estimated 100,000 fraudulent ballots were cast in a Chicago mayor election. After a Justice Department investigation, 63 individuals were convicted of voter fraud, including vote buying, impersonation fraud, fictitious voter registrations, phony absentee ballots, and voting by non-citizens.
An article on corrupt voting practices in Illinois in Salon magazine recalled of the 1982 scandal, “At a meeting at the L & B Chicken Restaurant, Hicks (a Democrat official) told precinct officials that all the elderly and mentally disabled people in a residential care home were “crazy.” He said to simply “punch 10” on the computerized absentee ballot for every resident, which were all votes for Democratic candidates. When Webb examined the voters’ ballot signatures against other records, his team discovered one resident whose full name appeared signed on his application, even though he had “no fingers or thumbs and can write only an ‘X’ by holding a pen between the stumps of his hands.” After months of trials, none were punished severely. Chicago’s machine judges looked after their own.
In report from Illinois Policy on the Heritage Foundation’s voter fraud database, over 100 individuals were discovered to have been convicted of criminal activity surrounding the state’s election process.
In July 2017, the Illinois Board of Elections refused to comply with a request for voter information sought by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to look into alleged irregularities in the 2016 presidential election.
The disingenuous answer of the Illinois board, which states that information can be released only to “political committees” and “governmental entities for governmental purposes,” refuses to acknowledge that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is a government entity formed for government purposes, refusing on the grounds that the information might later be released to the public. This in spite of the fact that the information is already available to absolutely anyone who forms a “Bob Smith for Dog Catcher” committee and registers with the board. Obviously, the purpose in refusing to release the information is to prevent the state (and more importantly her politicians) from being embarrassed by scrutiny of the names on the voter rolls, which will reveal precisely the type of widespread fraudulent voting evidence that the Board does not want exposed.
The President’s Commission has no legal power to compel them to release the names, or to punish wrongdoers—but they are serving to point out an important truth about Illinois elections:
Voting in an Illinois election is a waste of time, and it isn’t getting better.