Eligible voter counts questioned in Rock Island, Mercer counties


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Posted Online: April 20, 2011, 7:12 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com
Rock Island and Mercer counties are two of 14 Illinois counties with more registered voters than actual eligible voters, according to a study by the State Board of Elections.

The report says the disparity was revealed by comparing the number of registered voters in each county to the number of people listed in the 2010 Census as being older than 18 and eligible to vote.

Rock Island County lists 125,875 registered voters, although Census numbers show the county has only 114,359 residents age 18 or older. That means 11,516 people may be deceased or no longer live in the county, according to Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney.

The report also shows Mercer County has 14,295 registered voters, while Census numbers show the county has only 12,714 residents age 18 or older.

"We have to purge our records sometime this summer," Mercer County Clerk Phyllis Bewley said. "There may be various reasons why the numbers gathered by the Census Bureau did not reflect everyone."

Ms. Kinney, who hasn't seen the report, said her office also plans to purge voter registration files but is waiting until the county board redistricting is completed.

"We're required to issue out new voter registration cards to everybody after redistricting. It didn't make sense to do it before redistricting."

Ms. Kinney said two reasons for more registered voters than residents old enough to vote are deaths or people moving.

"People move out of Rock Island County and nobody notifies us," Ms. Kinney said. "People die and no one notifies us. Those voters stay on file for two federal elections.

"We put them in an inactive file. We don't know if they've passed away, if they've moved," she said. "We have no idea."

Ms. Kinney said there are tens of thousands of registered voters in the county who may no longer live in the county or are deceased.

Ms. Bewley said the discrepancy doesn't mean any foul play has taken place.

"As far as people voting from cemeteries, no, that's not what it means," she said.

Other counties with more registered voters than actual eligible voters are Alexander, Clark, Clinton, Hardin, Jasper, Massac, Menard, Ogle, Pulaski, Richland, Stark and Vermilion.Bernadette Harrington, legal counsel for the ISBE in Springfield said it has sent letters to jurisdictions.

"We have a dialogue to review what they've submitted," she said.






 












 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2014. There are 162 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Everybody is invited to go on a moonlight excursion next Monday evening on the steamer New Boston. The trip will be from Davenport to Muscatine and back.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The mayor and bridge committee let a contract to the Clinton Bridge company for a $1,125 iron bridge across Sears canal near Milan.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Injunction proceedings to compel the Central Association to keep a baseball team in Rock Island for the remainder of the season were contemplated by some of the Rock Island fans, but they decided to defer action.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The first of the new and more powerful diesel engines built for the Rock Island Lines for the proposed Chicago-Denver run, passed thru the Tri-Cities this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island Rescue Mission is negotiating for the purchase of the Prince Hall Masonic Home located at 37th Avenue and 5th Street, Rock Island.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad Cities Container Terminal is being lauded as a giant business boon that will save several days and hundreds of dollars on each goods shipment to the coasts. The Quad Cities Container Terminal is the final piece of the puzzle that opens up increase access to world markets, Robert Goldstein said.








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