Students take issue with UI polling places

Students voting on campus Tuesday encountered different levels of resistance as they worked to prove residency at their campus address.

Problems were reported at the Illini Union, the University YMCA and at Snyder Residence Hall and Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls.

“When I got to the front they said I needed proof of residency so I had to go back and get it,” said Ryan Pinto, junior in Engineering who voted at Snyder Hall. “They were accommodating; they let me get back without waiting, but it was inconvenient. They could have had signs up being more specific. All I needed was a photo ID and proof of residency.”

The Champaign County State’s Attorney’s office heard about problems enforcing the residency requirement at the Union early Tuesday afternoon, said Scott Mulford, spokesman A total of 1390 people voted at Snyder Hall and 830 voted at Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls. Exact numbers for other polling places were not available at press time.

Responsibility for making sure the election process is conducted fairly falls mainly on the shoulders of the election judges, said Lynn Foster, county clerk of Vermillion County, which includes Danville and other areas to the east of campus.

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“The election judges’ primary responsibility is to protect the rights of voters so that everyone who is entitled to vote has the opportunity to do so,” Foster said.

At least five judges were scheduled to staff each polling place in Champaign County, so a minimum of 585 people will work as election judges in Champaign County, said Rhonda Wrona, chief deputy county clerk.

The number of ballots available at each polling place were based on the number of voters who participated in the previous election, Wrona said.

“We increase it for presidential elections because we always think the turnout will be huge,” she said. for the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

“We are sending out our election monitoring team to the Illini Union to make sure the election judges stop asking for multiple forms of identification,” Mulford said in a statement released about 6:30 p.m.

Several documents qualify as proof of residency including current utility bills, bank statements, government checks or other government documents with the voter’s name and address, said Deputy County Clerk Ted Apy-Tuhiso.

Jenny Block, senior in Media, was turned away from voting at the Union because she could not prove her residency. She voted successfully later, but feared many others in her situation would have given up.

“I think a lot of people didn’t come back the second time if they had to prove residency,” Block said.

At Snyder Tuesday afternoon, Tom Smurr, sophomore in LAS, was only asked for his driver’s license, while Samantha Powers, sophomore in AHS, was also asked for proof of residency.

Ross Good, director of the I-Vote program and junior in LAS, said judges at the Union were also not consistently enforcing this requirement.

“This is the ridiculousness of this case,” Good said. “They need to inform everyone and make people aware.”

Nicola Crean, Katie Foody, Crystal Kang, Megan Kelly, Jennifer Harvey, Andrew Maloney and Marie Wilson contributed to this report.