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BLOOMINGTON — Local election officials are confident there has been no voter fraud in their jurisdictions, but they will comply if President Donald Trump follows through on his call for an investigation.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he is ordering a "major investigation" into voter fraud. While he made claims of voter fraud and rigged election systems repeatedly during his campaign, election officials nationwide have said there is no evidence to support the allegations.

Trump tweeted the investigation will look at those registered to vote in more than one state, "those who are illegal and ... even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time)."

"Let him investigate it," Paul Shannon, executive director of the Bloomington Election Commission said Wednesday. "Our records are open."

McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael, whose office oversees elections for Normal and the rest of the county outside Bloomington's city limits, also welcomes Trump's investigation and hopes it also will examine the media's role in elections.

"I think it's great that (Trump) is fulfilling a campaign promise," said Michael. "Illinois does have good checks and balances, but there is always room for mistakes to happen.

"I think I welcome investigations," said Michael. "If not just elections, per se, but it could be what role did the media play in providing false information, false polling data and repeating it? I hope that is included in the investigation as well."

Michael said she also supports efforts to require voters to show identification, which is not required in Illinois.

"A lot of the public would like to see voter ID strengthened to show who you are at the polling place," Michael said. "I don't disagree with that. That would take away even more questions about voter fraud."

By law, anyone who says they are a U.S. citizen must be allowed to register, said Shannon, adding, "Obviously, I have no resources to investigate every person who registers to verify that they are a U.S. citizen."

The state of Illinois requires people registering to vote to supply identification such as Social Security or driver's licenses numbers, which are checked against state and federal databases.

"Once those numbers are verified, that person is considered completely registered," said Shannon.

People who have died cannot be removed from the voter registration system unless local election officials are notified by the state or by family members and given documentation such as a death certificate, said Shannon.

Livingston County Clerk Kristy Masching said that by law, officials must purge the county's system of inactive and/or ineligible voters every two years. 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith said that if she is ordered "to do something I will comply, but I don't feel that we have an issue with (voter fraud) here."

Shannon, Michael, Smith and other local election officials expressed confidence in safeguards built into the Illinois election system to prevent fraudulent ballots and internet hacking. 

"The voting machines come back to us before the cards are ever pulled," said Tazewell County Clerk Christie Webb. "Everything is counted right here (at the clerk's office).

"You can never be 100 percent sure, but I am 99.9 percent sure that the voting system is secure," said Webb.

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @pg_nagle


Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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