Board of Elections and Dept. of Corrections Encounter Error With Former Inmate’s Voter Registrations

By Benjamin Cox on February 3, 2020 at 3:31pm

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 126,000shared 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 Thursday. 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.

Both agencies are currently revising data sharing agreements to ensure the issue doesn’t occur again. Greene, Pike, and Sangamon Counties have been notified that they have at least 3 cancellations. For further information, or if you believe your registration may have been canceled by mistake call 782-4141.