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Activists Say 5,200 People Are Illegally Registered to Vote in East St. Louis

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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - An activist wants a federal judge to order county or state officials to run East St. Louis elections, arguing that more than 5,200 people are illegally registered to vote in the struggling city.

Matthias Hawkins filed his lawsuit earlier this month against East St. Louis’ Board of Election Commissioners, which conducts all elections in the southwestern Illinois city and is responsible for purging the local voter rolls of residents who have died or moved away, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

Hawkins, president of the Civic Alliance of East St. Louis, also asks the court to advise Stephen Wigginton southern Illinois’ U.S. attorney to criminally charge members of the commission for a “history of enabling massive electoral fraud.”

The commission’s executive director, Kandrise Mosby, countered that the panel follows Illinois law and purges the voter rolls every two years, with that latest effort expected to be completed in a month. She declined further comment, citing Hawkins’ lawsuit.

A hearing date on Hawkins’ lawsuit had not been scheduled as of Tuesday.

Hawkins said he built his case over the past decade, estimating that more than 5,200 voters are illegally registered because they have died or moved out of the 27,000-resident city.

According to the lawsuit, an Illinois State Board of Elections report found the East St. Louis Board of Elections had registered more voters than there were local residents old enough to vote in 2011.

The commission purged the voter rolls in 2011, removing 3,294 voters to reduce the number of registered ones to 18,982, Mosby said. The panel did the same two years earlier by taking 2,604 voters off the rolls, bringing the remaining number to 20,382.

Hawkins called those purges a “big dog-and-pony show.”

“The overarching question is really about our elections and the way we’re making decisions in our city, in our county,” Hawkins said. “The integrity of that process cannot be under question. It has to be protected as we would protect our most precious national assets.”

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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