OTTAWA — Her workers consistently purge voter rolls of people who have died or moved outside the county, so County Clerk Jo Ann Carretto was more than a little upset when a national group said LaSalle County leads the nation in voter misinformation.
Houston-based True the Vote said its figures came from a federal data base, which had transposed LaSalle’s figures with much larger Chicago-area Lake County.
“As my mother taught me,” said Carretto, “if you can’t say anything good about a person, then don’t say anything. … But when this is blasted nationwide, it makes you a little upset.”
The national vote-watching group said LaSalle had four times the number of registered voters than the county’s entire population, ranking it at the top of 159 U.S. counties with more registered voters than population.
Spokesman Logan Churchwell did not say whether his group would apologize.
“We do say to LaSalle, and all the other counties that have shown us updated records, to continue your good work,” said Churchwell. ”Now we can’t even be sure if the data presented by the federal government is going to be accurate.”
He said Carretto’s response was “more than acceptable to us” and he is ready to move on and “hope they (LaSalle) are ready to do that as well.”
LaSalle County was the only instance of transposed figures. “The purpose is not to pick fights with county clerks,” he said.
The purpose of the study was to see if the “counties were not purging their (voter) rolls as they are supposed to,” said Churchwell.
He said his group is strictly non-partisan and interested only in honest voter recognition. He said there was “a wall” between his organization and its parent, King Street Patriots, which has been associated by some with the conservative Tea Party movement.
Churchwell said that is erroneous, but “that’s something we’ll just have to live with.”