With the Illinois primary less than two months away, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections has admitted that some non-citizens of the United States may have illegally voted in the 2018 election because of the new automatic voter registration process implemented in the state.
Spokesman Matt Dietrich told WCIA on Monday that 574 non-U.S. citizens were inadvertently registered to vote in Illinois, adding, “We do know that some of them voted in 2018.” He surmised that some may have been legal citizens who incorrectly filled out the state form to vote, although it appears much if not all of the problem was that Illinois permits non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses.
Democrat Secretary of State Jesse White’s office acknowledged the mistake in a letter to the State Board of Elections on December 18. Spokesman Henry Haupt of White’s office stated, “For whatever reason that technological programming error did not properly remove the individuals. The individuals who are applying for driver’s license were inadvertently pooled into the automatic voter registration.” He added, “This was an isolated case that impacted less than one-tenth of one percent of the people registered through automatic voter registration. As soon as the program error was discovered, it was fixed, and the individuals were notified, including the State Board of Elections and the local election authorities.”
The Macon County Sheriff’s race was decided by one vote. The News-Gazette reported in December 2018:
A Decatur man who was told he lost his bid to become Macon County sheriff by one vote is asking a judge to review the election results in hopes he’ll be declared the winner. Republican Jim Root filed suit Wednesday in Macon County Circuit Court against Democrat Tony “Chubby” Brown, the current sheriff, seeking to overturn Brown’s victory …The request for judicial relief comes on the heels of a discovery recount that Root’s local attorney, Jerrold Stocks, believes actually puts Root five votes ahead of Brown instead of one vote behind.
WCIA noted, “Illinois law allows immigrants who are not citizens to get a driver’s license or state identification. Both state and federal law prohibits non-citizens from participating in American elections … Non-citizens who vote in American elections can face swift consequences, including immediate deportation.”
State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) explained, “Non-citizens can have driver’s licenses in the state of Illinois. A driver’s license is a key tool in registering someone to vote. Oftentimes it’s your driver’s license that is one of the two documents that we use to verify that you’re a registered citizen … If that person voted, that’s a huge problem when it comes to the federal government. That’s a deportable offense for this person. And if that’s the case, that’s something that’s on the Secretary of State’s office for allowing that offense to happen.”
Because of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, no state employees were available to ascertain exactly how many non-citizens actually voted; a more detailed answer is expected to be given on Tuesday.
Five Illinois House Republicans have requested White and the State Board of Elections to testify before investigative hearings; Butler explained, “We have to have complete confidence that our offices are doing the right thing. And that goes for the Secretary of State. He may or may not have known about this. I have no idea. But he needs to be held responsible for it. It’s his operation that allowed this to happen.”
The Illinois primary election is held March 17, with early voting starting on February 6.