Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What they get for the money

A few hours after 2 East St Louis democratic precinct workers were sentenced for their roles in a vote buying scheme during the 2004 election, the St. Clair County board voted 21-6 to continue giving the East St. Louis election board $99,916 or $97,143 depending on which paper you read. The cost of running an election in that city is in the $400,000 range so let's see what they get for the money.
The people of East St. Louis have received democratic party workers who purchase votes and are now facing jail time. They have been voting on antiquated voting equipment under the supervision of workers who have not been trained in overseeing elections.
Last night's vote by the St. Clair County board was taken after receiving recommendations from an ad hoc committee which studied the East St. Louis voting situation and came up with recommendations including having the county election office work with the ESL election board in order to train, educate and upgrade elections. However, the board stopped short of only funding the state required minimum amount of $21, 200. The six republicans on the board voted against the proposal, including Steve Reeb who yesterday was reported to be considering voting for the full amount.
"I don't disagree with the committee's findings, but it didn't go far enough," said Reeb, who was a member of the committee. "I would've liked to have seen an audit report. Maybe it was my fault for not pushing harder for it during the meetings. I still believe we need one election board, not two."
An audit might have been nice. Maybe the voters of East St. Louis will someday realize they would be much better served by the County Clerk's office running their elections like every other city, but until then, there should be an accounting of what they get for the money. An accounting would be nice, but a motion by Board member Kyle McCarter which asked that the county "require the East St. Louis Board of Commissioners to submit a specific plan for reducing costs, justification for voter roll totals that is consistent with census data, and monthly financial statements," was voted down.


Bill Baar 7:36 AM  

a culture of corruption?

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