Washington Park election judge says Social Security number was released to residents

WASHINGTON PARK, IL (KPLR) – Two new election judges for Washington Park say their Social Security numbers wound up on the street after the local mayor discovered her nominees for judge had been replaced by the St. Clair County Democratic Party chairman.

Emma Barnes, who volunteered to be a judge in November, is worried her identity might be compromised.  She says a form from the county clerk’s office that included her name, address and social security number and those of two other new election judges was given to her by a resident several weeks ago.  She does not know how many people have copies of the information.

Wednesday St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook, who manages elections in the county, promised tighter control of personal information in his office.  In a letter to Washington Park Mayor Ann Rodgers, “It has come to my attention that this form was distributed to your Village Board Members.”  He told her, “Please cease and desist from any future distribution of documents given to you by our office that contain personal information.

Holbrook said Mayor Rodgers had requested the information and as an elected official who is also the precinct committeeperson for the area she is entitled to receive it.

Illinois law makes it a crime to “intentionally release” identity information like Social Security numbers without the owner’s permission.

Mayor Rodgers denied giving the form to anyone other than her six village trustees.  She described the situation as an attempt to smear her reputation.  She said she should have given her approval for the judge nominees.

Holbrook said he takes the recommendations from the chairmen of the county’s Republican and Democratic parties when selecting election judges.  An equal number of judges from each party work the polls.

Barnes said she and others complained about possible election violations in the Canteen Township, Precinct 3 during the Illinois Primary election in March.

St. Clair County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Sprague signed the form recommending Emma Barnes, Princess Blanchard and Lawrence Alls to be new election judges.