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Jul 07

Voter Question: Preventing Fraud

Posted on July 7, 2020 at 9:28 PM by Robert Watson

I just read the article about the way the mail-in ballots in New Jersey were used fraudulently, with the candidate who (allegedly) committed the fraud winning. How is that kind of fraud going to be prevented here?

We have a very good checks and balance here in McLean County. With technology, and with due diligence from your election authority, while fraud can happen anywhere, it's not likely to happen here. Bad actors will always try to mess with elections; and this election more than ever. We have an entire team made up of veteran judges, Democratic and Republican, who manage the vote-by-mail operation from start to finish. We clean our voter roles every two years as mandated by law; we continually update our voter database when we receive notices from the state regarding those who have died. We do a double check here as well as each day we check the obituaries against our voter database. When a ballot comes back to our office, the voter is looked up in our database and checked against the current address on the application vs. the address in our system. Then the signature is checked to see if it matches. The signature is the only identification required by Illinois. A person's signature can change over the years, due to a stroke for example. Rather than reject that ballot, we try to contact the voter for verification that they indeed mailed in their ballot. This year, with the new mandates from SB1863, we are mailing out, for the first time, applications to registered voters in McLean County to request a vote by mail ballot if they wish; NOT the ballot, but an application to request one. This will be interesting and challenging to see how many of approximately 60,000 registered voters will request a ballot. We are ready with a team of veteran judges to work 24-hour shifts if needed; with very stringent training on how to watch for fraudulent ballots being mailed back in. Fraud can happen. We are working as hard as we can to prevent it, and to report it to our State's Attorney for action if it does.