I commend the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and the U.S. Postal Inspectors for their diligent work investigating suspicious activity that the Clerk’s office brought to their attention. This led to a criminal complaint being lodged last Friday against Wilbon Perry, a Village of Ford Heights resident suspected of tampering with a local election in the Village of Ford Heights in 2015.
My office first discovered suspicious mail ballot applications in late March 2015. My staff quickly notified the State’s Attorney’s office, and US Postal Service inspectors were brought in.
Our three agencies began an active investigation. We identified what we believed to be an attempt to commit mail ballot fraud in the Ford Heights election. These charges are a result of the investigation.
Voter fraud is rare, but when it occurs, we have some tools to catch it—and the perpetrators must be held accountable. This is why my office has made it a top priority to make sure election administrators have more tools and resources to catch suspicious activity. I have been at the forefront of using technology to maintain clean voter lists and to detect suspicious activity. I proposed legislation to have Illinois join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) and provide state access to the National Change of Address registry (NCOA), tools that help keep our voter registration records up-to-date by removing voters who have moved elsewhere or who are deceased.
We have cancelled tens of thousands of voters who we’ve confirmed as being registered elsewhere or deceased after appropriate verifications; working with the U.S. Postal Service’s NCOA registry. We’ve updated voter registrations from old addresses; and we are seeking to complete voter records by adding driver’s license or social security information to every record. This allows us to efficiently find and act on matches with death certificates or registrations in other jurisdictions and states, matches which might otherwise not be known or confirmable.
We are also renewing our push for Automatic Voter Registration legislation which Gov. Rauner vetoed last year.
Anyone entertaining the thought of tampering with a local election should think twice. You will be caught and we will work to ensure you are punished.
We encourage you to report suspicious activity or individuals voting from addresses where they no longer live by calling 312-603-0989.
Cook County Clerk