By Deborah Carl
Mormons Looking to Vote in Nauvoo Can't Establish Residency
NAUVOO, Ill. -- Several members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois were denied the right to vote. Residents needed
to register by March 6 in order to vote in the April 3 mayoral election
between incumbent Democrat Tom Wilson and Republican Dan Capener who is a
member of the LDS church.
Many of those turned away are members serving church missions which coincide
with the building of the Nauvoo temple. They were turned away because they
did not have sufficient proof to establish Illinois residency, Hancock
County Clerk Kerry Asbridge said. Illinois residency law says, "whether or
not an abode is permanent is largely a question of intention -- that is when
a person has a home at a given place, with no present intention of removing
therefrom, he is generally held to be a resident of that place."
Illinois law also requires two forms of identification and one must include
the person's residence. Proof of residency is based on the discretion of
voter registration officials, Asbridge said. "It's been a game of cat and
mouse," said Asbridge, who is also the head of voter registration. "The
people haven't been able to register to vote because they present an
out-of-state drivers license, and that is not sufficient to show proof they
live in Illinois." New residents are given an 90 day grace period before
they must obtain an Illinois license to operate a motor vehicle.
Some residents said they presented rental agreements that show the address
and length of time they have lived there for proof of residency and provided
an out-of-state drivers license to establish who they are. Patricia
Jacobson, who has lived at 160 N. Warsaw St., No. 402, since June 2000, said
her husband, Stephen, was allowed to register to vote but she wasn't because
no bill was in her name and she doesn't have an Illinois drivers license to
verify her residency.
"I took them a phone book that says where I live, and they told me that
wouldn't work," Jacobson said. "I have some friends running for office and
thought as long as I was living in Illinois I would vote for them. It seems
like they kept thinking of reasons to keep me from voting. I have decided
that if they are going to make such a big deal about it, I just won't vote."
Mormon voters kept from polls?
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