The vote buying trial going on in East St. Louis had testimony yesterday which caused some fireworks outside the courtroom.
"An East St. Louis Democratic Party official told Mark Kern days before he was elected St. Clair County Board chairman that voters in the city would have to be paid to support him, the first witness in a federal vote fraud trial testified Wednesday."
FBI informer, Dannita Youngblood, a city hall employee, told the jury her boss, Kelvin Ellis told Kern: "he was perceived in the predominantly black community as a racist and might need to spend $10 per vote to get support." Kern was embroiled in a tight race for board chairman against republican Steve Reeb who won 52 percent of the November vote in county areas other than East St. Louis. "Youngblood testified that after the call, she, Ellis, and four others drove to Belleville and met with Kern at his private office to present him with a spreadsheet of expenses."
"Kern said he was "shocked and outraged. Anything said about any impropriety is untrue, it's just not true."
Instapundit wonders why this story isn't getting more national attention. My theory is that the trial, coupled with the interest in the coming out of Deep Throat Mark Felt, coupled with the notion around here that what is going on is "business as usual" in East St. Louis, takes interest away. The fact that democrats win the vote totals in East St Louis is not news, the fact that they win most offices in all of St. Clair county is not news. But what should be peeking people's interest is that we finally see a concerted effort by the federal government to actually look into voting in that city. For the first time a republican could have been said to have been the favorite to win a major county office, an office with lots of influence. Had democrat Kern lost that race politics in St. Clair county would have undergone a seismic shift and the embarrassment the party felt over losing the state Supreme Court race would have been compounded.
East St. Louis is alone among all the municipalities in St. Clair County to have their own election board. Elections are not overseen by the County Clerk's office like other cities are. They pick their own people to run, judge, count and oversee election of every kind. Maybe it is time for that to end. St. Clair County, as democratic as they are, and as much as officials want things to remain that way, would certainly do a better job of making sure elections are run honestly. Things like this would definitely not have happened if neighboring Madison County clerk, Mark Van Nida, were in charge, and he is part of the Metro East democrats as well. He just insists elections go by the book and the law and that everyone connected with election day knows it.