Data Error May Have Cancelled Almost 800 Former Inmates’ IL Voter Registrations

Illinois State Board of Electons
Illinois State Board of Elections. (SUPPLIED)

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:

NameCount of Cancellations
Adams County2
Bond County1
Boone County1
Bureau County3
Champaign County28
Christian County5
City of Bloomington6
City of East St Louis6
City of Galesburg2
City of Rockford39
Clark County4
Clay County1
Clinton County4
Coles County7
Cook County245
Crawford County5
DeKalb County2
DeWitt County6
DuPage County74
Effingham County1
Franklin County2
Greene County1
Grundy County3
Henderson County1
Jackson County3
Jefferson County9
Kane County38
Kankakee County3
Kendall County7
Knox County1
Lake County57
Lawrence County3
Logan County1
Macon County28
Madison County45
Mason County4
McDonough County4
McHenry County51
McLean County4
Menard County1
Monroe County4
Montgomery County1
Ogle County1
Peoria County13
Pike County3
Pulaski County1
Randolph County11
Saline County1
Sangamon County3
St. Clair County4
Stark County2
Tazewell County1
Wabash County3
Warren County2
Washington County2
Will County1
Williamson County7
Winnebago County3
Woodford County3

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.

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