Board of Elections, Dept. Of Corrections Work to Correct Data Error
Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Illinois State Board of Elections today notified 59 local election authorities that 774 former inmates of the Illinois Department of Corrections may have had their voter registrations erroneously canceled due to a data-matching error involving both agencies.
Matching based on information forwarded to the State Board of Elections incorrectly categorized the individuals as currently incarcerated when in fact they had completed their sentences and been discharged. The State Board of Elections has worked directly with the Illinois Department of Corrections to identify the affected individuals, whose records were among more than 126,000 shared between the two agencies between 2014 and 2019.
Under Illinois law, voting rights are suspended during an inmate’s period of incarceration but are restored upon release, though the individual must re-register to vote. This includes those who are released on parole, on mandatory supervised release and on condition of electronic monitoring.
The Board of Elections has provided each election authority with voter information on the affected individuals so that their registrations can be reviewed for reinstatement by the start of early voting on Feb. 6. It is possible that some of the cancellations are for reasons unrelated to this data error and known only to the local election authority.
The Board of Elections and Department of Corrections are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Both agencies are currently revising their data sharing agreement and matching parameters to avoid this error in future data exchanges. Upon identifying the potential problem in November 2019, the Board ceased sharing IDOC matches with local election authorities and began the process of identifying individuals who may have been affected by the error.
Because Illinois allows for voter registration on Election Day and the casting of provisional ballots for those whose registration status is in question, the affected registrants would have had the opportunity to re-register and/or cast provisional ballots at their polling places if they wished to vote in an election after the error occurred.
The following election jurisdictions have been notified:
|Name||Count of Cancellations|
|City of Bloomington||6|
|City of East St Louis||6|
|City of Galesburg||2|
|City of Rockford||39|
|St. Clair County||4|
The Illinois State Board of Elections encourages all eligible citizens to register and vote. This includes those with criminal records who are not incarcerated. A guide to the voting rights of those with criminal records is attached to this release.
Additionally, the State Board of Elections encourages all Illinois voters, including those who may have been on the list of incorrectly categorized former inmates of the Department of Corrections, to check their registration status using the board’s online Registration Lookup page at https://ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx.
The State Board of Elections is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of having general supervision over the administration of election laws of the State of Illinois. Elections are administered locally by the State’s 108 election authorities.