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dir="ltr">More than 60 cases of double voting in Illinois were referred to law enforcement after the 2016 election and a group of lawmakers wants something done about it.
Municipal elections are less than a month away. State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, produced records confirmed by the Illinois State Board of Elections that showed more than 1,300 possible double votes were identified.
“This is something that undermines legal voting,” Skillicorn said. “If someone is a legal voter in Illinois and someone else comes in and votes twice or votes illegally that takes away a legal vote from a legal citizen. That’s wrong. That undermines democracy.”
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“Utilizing the Statewide voter registration database (IVRS), duplicate registration records were identified where more than one record for that individual had been marked as voted,” the Illinois State Board of Elections said.
“We referred those to the local election authorities so they could look into them,” Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said. “Three hundred and fifty-seven of those were found to be attributable to clerical error and 765 were found to be not the same voter. Of the remaining 257 cases, the local authorities referred 164 to their legal teams and 65 were then referred on to state’s attorneys.”
There were seven possible double vote records identified in Sangamon County, but they were found to not be the same person and none were reported to law enforcement.
Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said he understands the concern.
“We would never tolerate a double vote here in Sangamon County, no county clerk would throughout the entire state of Illinois,” Gray said. “We go through great lengths to ensure that the protocols at the moment of issuing a ballot are followed.”
Gray said clerks must not only follow through with such cases when they are brought to their attention, but with expanded election services, clerks must also be vigilant before the vote.
“We are now registering people on Election Day and issuing ballots so the systems now have vulnerabilities within them or potential vulnerabilities or areas in which someone can find a way to exploit,” Gray said.
There were 18 cases of double voting in Champaign County reported to law enforcement. That’s more than double the number of cases referred to local law enforcement in Cook County and the city of Chicago combined.
Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons said those were referred to the state’s attorney and the FBI before he took office.
The Champaign County state’s attorney’s office couldn't immediately be reached for comment on those cases.
Altogether, 65 cases of duplicate voters were referred to county-level law enforcement after the 2016 election. Dietrich said the state board didn’t know the fate of those cases.
Skillicorn used the numbers to promote a measure to stiffen penalties for double voting. He also said he wants to get Illinois back into the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck system meant to help find voter registration irregularities. Illinois recently pulled out of the multistate Crosscheck program.
Gray said getting back in is not necessary. He said the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, Illinois and all neighboring states but Indiana are a part of is superior.
Dietrich said the state board is “hopeful that we can create a data-sharing agreement with Indiana for voter list maintenance efforts in both states.”
State Rep. Chris Miller, R-Oakland, supported Skillicorn’s efforts and went further, calling for voter ID requirements.
“You have to have an ID to get on a plane,” Miller said. “You have to have an ID to stay at a hotel. You have to an ID to buy booze. You have to have an ID to do almost anything in our culture today so I don’t think this is intrusive to anyone.”
State Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Louisville, who also supports Skillicorn’s measures, said election integrity is important.
“It's everything that the men and the women that serve our country stand for, serve for, fight for, put their lives on the line for and I think at the very least we in Illinois can do something to uphold the integrity,” Bailey said.