Illinois Election-Problems Clearinghouse

Sponsored by the Illinois Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, a non-partisan civic group.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


We expect widespread problems in Chicago and Cook County related to the November 7, 2006, elections.

This blog has three goals:
1) To help citizens effectively route their reports of problems.
2) To collect and preserve citizens' write-ups of problems.
3) To publish those write-ups immediately, word for word, on the Internet, allowing review and study by all other interested citizens.

Read the reports. (Click here, or just scroll down.)
Post a report (as a "comment.")
Call in a problem that needs immediate attention.
Publish audio or video record of a problem.
the clearinghouse moderator.

Note: If some reports here are not easily viewable, try this alternate webpage

Thanks for participating!


  • At 12:05 PM, Moderator said…

    Here are the Posting Guidelines

    * Very long reports are OK.
    * Be sure to specify--
       1) your county,
       2) your town,
       3) your ward,
       4) the date and time of occurence.
    * Your name and precinct are desirable, but optional.
    * When posting, choose the "Anonymous" identity, below the box.
    * Check later messages to see if we need to contact you.


  • At 2:45 PM, Bob Wilson said…

    We'd like to have comments about Early Voting and Absentee Voting as well, such as:

    Thursday, Nov 2, 2006: Early Voting in Evanston (Evanston Civic Center) was delayed during the afternoon with waits as long as one hour and 10 minutes. The reason - two of the six (33.3%) SEQUOIA Edge2Plus DREs had malfunctioned and were "out of service."

    The election judge responded to a query: "They just quit, that's all I know."

  • At 2:53 PM, Matt said…

    I voted early on October 17, 2006 at the Normal, Illinois City Hall. The touch-screen (DIEBOLD) was in an area like a utility closet and I was alone with the machine. I noticed there was a cord with two keys taped to the side of the machine - they were the keys to open the memory card security door on the side of the machine.

    I had seen the video of the "Princeton Hack" of the Diebold machines and realized that I could have accessed the memory card slot and inserted a maliciously programmed card. When I brought this to the attention of one of the election judges, she said that that's the way they come from the County warehouse (McClean).

  • At 3:11 PM, Moderator said…

    The video of the "Princeton Hack," mentioned above by Matt, is accessible from the researcher's webpage,

  • At 8:25 AM, Anonymous said…

    County of Cook, City of Evanston, IL Precinct 7, Ward 4 - King Home on Oak St.
    6:1? am November 7, 2006

    Polling place opened late.

    5 paper ballot stations, only 3 pens

    Delays due to inability to initialize the card activation unit.

    5 Sequoia Edge DRE's -- 2 with jammed cards.

  • At 9:10 AM, Moderator said…

    Bob Wilson--serving as a poll judge in Evanston's 4th Ward, 2nd Precinct--reports by cellphone that, so far, five Cook County precincts have reported a shortage of archival inkpens. These are the pens that voters use in marking their paper ballots.

    Affected are one precinct in Evanston, one precinct in Riverside, and two precincts (one polling place) in New Trier.

    These precincts received only one or two pens (one precinct received three pens), even though they have seven paper-ballot marking stations,

    Voters were forced to wait either for an available pen or for an available touch-screen voting machine. (There are one or two such machines per precinct.)

    Bob reports that he bought some inexpensive, black-ink ballpoint pens, and that they seem to be serving well as an substitute for the missing archival inkpens.

  • At 9:36 AM, Moderator said…

    Bob Wilson reports by cellphone that his precinct did not receive copies of the affidavit forms that voters must sign when they request a provisional ballot.

    He also notes that this form, Form 501, was not listed on the official checklist which the poll judges consulted yesterday to verify that they had all necessary supplies.

    Bob phoned the County Clerk's office nineteen times before he was able to get through the busy signals and request copies of the form.

  • At 10:20 AM, Peter Power said…

    Due to extensive remodeling, the polling station at First United Church in Oak Park (Cook County, 23rd Precinct) was moved to the nearby main branch of the public library. As of 7 am this morning (11/07), there was no sign or notice of any kind informing voters of the new location.

  • At 11:40 AM, Anonymous said…

    I went to vote at roughly 6:20 this morning, Ward 44, Precinct 14. There were five ballot booths set up and one electronic voting machine. The ballot scanner was rejecting all ballots as defective, so we all had to use the electronic machine. A pollworker told us the scanner had been programmed for the wrong district. Using the machine was easy enough, but the confusion keep me there for over 40 minutes. I also wonder about the safety of my vote. I'd feel better if I got a copy of the receipt the machine printed out for my records.


  • At 2:46 PM, Anonymous said…


    Fortunately, in my district, we still have good old fashioned paper ballots, and NO lines, fraudulent ID checks, or harassment -- all a new phenomenon in our history.


  • At 2:50 PM, Anonymous said…

    I taught a pollwatcher group at League of Women Voters on Saturday and some of the pollwatchers have been calling me today with reports. There were very few people in attendance, so there's not going to be much data this year. But here is one for IBIP's records:

    32nd Ward Precincts 7, 10, 18
    (Precinct 10 having a busy day)
    Shannon Weiss, LWV pollwatcher

    This is a multiple-precinct polling place in the 32nd Ward, Precincts 7, 10, 18. It is in a small room (too small) in a church at Diversey and Greenview.

    1. Some pens for paper ballots not working (dry?). Split pens up among three precincts.

    2. Paper scanners periodically not working properly. Ballots not even feeding in. Now it seems to be fixed.

    3. Maps not up. (She asked them to put them up.)

    4. Too many overvotes, with people saying they didn't overvote; tech examining actual ballots. Tech unlocked optical scanner once.

    5. "DEFECTIVE BALLOT" visible many times on the optical scanner tape. What does that mean? "Oh, it's when people don't vote right."

    6. Two people in 18 somehow voted in 10. Tech: "Don't worry about it, at the end of the day we'll just run them through the 18th Precinct."

    7. She said that there are precinct captains running in and out. I asked her to first ask to observe the credentials, mark down every name and address, and then ask who these people were and whether they were properly credentialed.

    Peter Zelchenko | + | 312-RED-BIRD

  • At 3:09 PM, sauntjax said…

    In Chicago, Cook County at the Lawndale Christian Community Center, The ward 24, pcts 56, 40 were delayed opening for an 1 1/2 hour. It was due to two problems 1. the physical building did not open until 6:00am 2. There were missing elections judges who some had the key to open the voting equipment.

    There were over 30 voters who turned around because they couldn't vote and would be docked for pay. Tried calling the Board of Elections and no answer. We need to get these pct extended at least an hour.

  • At 8:42 PM, Anonymous said…

    cook county, chicago, 4th? (bronzeville near 35th and cottage grove) 6pm
    ive never voted before so they showed me real quick what to do, simple. i asked was it both sides and the man said it is, but most people don't do the other side, its just for the judges so you can skip that.
    the whole thing was a waste of time, i didnt plan on voting at all. but out of curiosity i did, and out of curiosity i looked at the other side and saw the 3 referendums (weapons, min wage and troops out now).
    troops out now!

  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous said…

    I'm unable to download the comments, tho I hit on the line that should download the comments.

    I live in Bernie Stones ward. The precent captain was in the lobby. When I came home and walked into the lobby, he approached me with a big hello. I said hello and went into vote and up to my apartment. Later when I came down to leave, he was standing right outside the room where the voting was going on. He said to me what's the matter can't you smile? I told him I didn't like being bothered on my way to vote and in my lobby when I walk in. His reply was oh, I know your type. I'm not sure what my reply was to that!

    At the same time, a man from the immigration rights group came in. I told what had happened, and asked if this guy was supposed to be in the lobby. He wasn't sure, but would check into it. Later a friend heard on the news that precent captains were in the lobbies of buildings in Bernies ward, and that that was illegal.

    Thanks for sending this information out, and for being a watchdog. If you can, let me know how to download other peoples comments.



  • At 12:09 PM, Moderator said…


    All of the reports are made available on the main page of the Clearinghouse.

    You can save the main page by clicking on "File" in the upper left corner of your browser, then clicking on "Save Page As..." and inserting your choice of a filename.

    Thanks for your report!

  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous said…

    This concerns some frustration around my own vote in my own precinct -- Cook County, Evanston, Ward 3, Precinct 7. The polling place was the Baker Field House on Forest Ave. The time was about 9:00 a.m. I voted the paper ballot but the scanner was jammed and couldn't be fixed because, the judge said, he was the only one who could fix it and another worker had left the polling place "for awhile" and he had his own job to do so couldn't do it then. I put my ballot in what is supposedly a secure slot in that machine and the judge assured me that it would be counted. I objected because, I said, one point was that I should be able to watch it being scanned and then learn whether I had over- or under-voted and correct any problem. I would of course also be assured that my vote was counted. Other ballots had already been put in there, I could see. The judge expressed some surprise that I was concerned. I'm sure that this was only ineptitude, understaffing etc. but. . . . it's a problem.

    I did do some pollwatching in the 10th District and have nothing really to report.

  • At 9:36 PM, Anonymous said…

    Cook County, Lincoln Square 47th ward:

    Showed up at the polling place (Boomer's @ Ainslie and Lincoln) around 8am. Initially chose to do the touch screen voting but couldn't because the only electronic machine there was not working properly.

    Used a paper ballot, watched the ballot ahead of me get jammed. The election judge tending the machine wasn't able to remedy the problem, but another worker who was on the phone attempting to fix the elec. machine pressed a button and the ballot fed right in. When I fed mine I didn't get a message as to whether I'd over or undervoted (I didn't vote for all posts). I left feeling less than confident in Cook county's balloting process.

  • At 10:06 PM, Clare Tobin said…

    Clare Tobin reports - visited 10 Precincts in City's 50(3, 40(2), 47(4) and 39(1)wards. 3 had major machine malfunctions - 1 Optiscan, 1 DRE replaced and 1Optiscan not replaced even tho' techs. came out, did not fix - Optiscan was rejecting ballots, override button not working. Replaced DRE also malfunctioned, card activator invalid - told by Board to continue to use DRE in manual mode(famous yellow button that allows you to vote as many times as you like!)

    Noticed only 10% of votes cast on DREs. 40th Ward judges said they were told not to enoourage DREs. 2 precincts had Student Tech. judges who were using their personal laptops in the precinct. Said their trainors didn't say anything about not bringing computers into polling place!
    Only 3 out of 10 precincts had marked off Early/Absentee voters from list(allowing voters to vote again)
    None of the precincts posted the list of eligible Write-in Candidates, or knew about the list.
    Optiscan pens in short supply in 3 precincts.

  • At 1:34 AM, Anonymous said…

    from Neal Resnikoff. I was an election judge in ward 33, 14th precinct. The day went much more smoothly than in March in the same precinct. There were some problems--
    1. The card used to activate the touch-screen machine got stuck inside the slot after about 12 votes, after being unwilling to go into the slot several times. On the call downtown by the tech on hand, the tech was told to reboot the machine. It then began to work properly once again, but the card jammed inside the machine at least another two times.

    2. There were several ballots rejected by the opti-scan machine as defective ballots. It was not clear what was defective about those ballots.

    3. There was a problem two or three times of two ballots stuck together being handed to a voter.

    4. There were quite a few ballots spoiled because of over-voting or not marking the ballot properly. These spoiled ballots are marked as spoiled and put in a special envelope. The person who spoiled the ballot then goes to one of the judges to have his or her registration card marked to indicate that a ballot was spoiled. Since it is very simple for anyone to read what is on the spoiled ballot, there is no privacy in that sense for the voter.

    5. A new privacy sleeve was used for ballots this election, but very often the voter pulls the ballot out of the sleeve to more easily slide it into the opti-scan, thus exposing the ballot to the eyes of a judge, if the judge chooses to look.

    6. The precinct captain is a poll-watcher, sits at one end of the judges' table, and asks each person coming in what their address is, thus making herself very visible to voters coming in. I need to check to find out if this violates any of the guidelines for poll watchers.

    7. One of the precinct captain's friends intercepts everyone coming into the front door of the two precinct polling place, and asks them where they live and points them to the correct table. The princint captain got very annoyed when I took up the job of asking people as they came in where they lived and pointing to the right table. She said I should get back to the post I was supposed to be at and would report me if I did not, even tho the particular jobs for each post were being taken care of. I guessed that she wanted the political worker to be visible to people coming in to vote.

    8. Alderman Mell came in during the day bearing a box of chocolate candy for each precinct. Naturally, those inside the polling place saw him and may have even talked with him. I need to find out if this sanctioned activity.

    9. We had trouble figuring out how to use the override button properly so that an over-vote ballot would be pulled back into the scanner and not be spit out repeatedly. The trick was to leave the ballot that was rejected sitting where it came out, and to then push the over-ride button. The machine would then pull the ballot back into the machine.

    6. We had about 14 special pens provided, and tried to be scrupulous about getting them returned. Nevertheless, 5 disappeared during the morning, and then we were short on pens when the evening rush took place, and voters had to wait.

    7. The polling place was very poorly lit, and some voters had trouble seeing the ballot in the booths that did not have self-contained lighting.

    8. We had one missing vote we could not account for, and Election Central said not to worry about it.

  • At 7:24 AM, Amanda said…

    (This is a bit late, sorry. Things have been very busy.)

    Wilmette, Cook County Precinct 32

    I was the station 3 judge. We only had 3 judges for most of the day. One had been reassigned, and one didn't show up. We did have a walk-in judge for a few hours around lunchtime, which was a big help. Our equipment manager was also our supply judge, and the only one of us who'd served as a judge before.

    Lines were long in the morning. We had only been given five of the optical scan pens, and only four of them actually wrote. We tried calling the repair station to ask for more, and only got busy signals for the first hour or so. We did eventually reach them and were told they'd bring us more pens (which never happened) and that we could use regular pens as long as the lines were dark enough. At training, they told us most emphatically NOT to use regular pens on the optical scan ballot.

    We had a poll watcher from the Democratic Party there most of the day. The morning poll watcher called in a lawyer about the pens and the fact she'd noticed a non-zero count listed at the bottom of the machine screen before the polls opened. (This was the "protected count" that we later learned was the lifetime count for the machine.)

    On the whole, we had few glitches. While I wasn't always able to insert the DRE card for voters, I did make sure they knew to press it all the way back. We only had about five or six instances when I had to use the green button to pop the card out again because they'd taken too long to put it in or it hadn't clicked and they got the contact pollworker screen.

    Other DRE issues:

    One voter called me over because one of their judge votes had flipped from yes to no. I told him to try again, and it was fine. We recalibrated the screen immediately after that voter was finished, and no one else complained about this sort of thing.

    We had one instance where the save failed when the voter tried to cast his vote. Unfortunately I was too busy to write down the message at the time, but it wasn't one of the messages on the troubleshooting card. It was something like "Save failed at beginning of session(?)." Pushing the green activate button produced no response, and we ended up having to reboot the machine. The voter had to vote again, however. Things seemed fine after that.

    When the EM changed the paper rolls on the two DREs, he sealed them, which brought my attention to the fact they had NOT been sealed prior to the start of the election. I asked about this, and the EM said it hadn't been on his instruction sheet. He doubled-checked the instructions, and eventually decided that it was supposed to have been sealed before we recieved them. (Can someone verify this?)

    Optical Scan Issues:

    One person started to feed in his ballot just before I was about to tell him to. So when I said "One at a time" he said he'd already fed them both in. The machine took what he fed in. We were surprised, since we thought it would spit out the ballots if they were fed in together. (Can anyone confirm this?) Unfortunately there was nothing we could do about it at that point. Then, shortly after that, a voter called me over because she was completely mystified by the paper ballot. In particular, she wanted to know why she had three of them. Turned out she had two judge ballots, one of which was filled out... The three voting judges conferred, and we thought perhaps the extra judge's ballot might have belonged to the man who thought he'd put in both ballots at once, so we fed it through.

    We had one card (the judge ballot) rejected as damaged. It did not look damaged in any way. The voter refused to get a new ballot. (Many people were in a hurry because of the unexpected wait.) We tried reading it through again, and on the third or fourth try we flipped it over and the machine read it without any problems.

    Most frequently asked question for the DREs:

    Is there any way I can skip that whole printout process next time? (So much for voter-verified paper trails...)

    Do I get that printout?

    Privacy Issues:

    People don't like using the privacy shield on the paper ballot. Quite a few try to not take one in the first place. Of the two hundred or so people who used paper in our precint, I think about 10 actually used it (or tried to use it) when they were putting their ballots into the optical scanner. Of those 10, half had trouble getting the ballot into the slot because the privacy shield was in the way. I suspect it's just too hard for most people to handle the mechanics of dealing with those three pieces of paper.

    I like the new ballot over the one we used in the primary. The "fill the arrow" is a much more discrete marking. With the big black X in the circle method, I felt just about anyone could see how you voted from across the room if they happened to glance your way. With this ballot, I had no trouble avoiding seeing how people voted when they were feeding the ballots into the machine even when they flashed the paper in my face. (More than one person commented that they didn't care if people saw how they voted, by the way.)

    Post-polling issues:

    When we first tried to consolidate our results, the optical scan cartitridge failed to read at first. We called in, and the problem was that the cartridge was not in all the way, even though the indicator light showed that it was. We were out by 9:30. We had two more people voting on our consolidated results than on the spindle. One of those was a provisional voter. Don't know about the other-might be the one that didn't get saved the first time? We were also missing one white ballot.

    Miscellaneous Security Concerns:

    At training, they showed us that the wireless modem gets turned on at the beginning of the day. Why? You only need it for about 20 minutes when you are consolidating results. Why leave the machine vulnerable to network hacks all day long?

    When we'd seal things, there seemed to be nowhere to record the seal number, nor was there any indication that we should actually do so.

    At training, our trainer didn't fully seal things, and would just take off the seal rather than breaking it. This seemed a little too easy to do accidentally, especially if it's what people saw in the training session.

    There didn't seem to be much control over the ballot style slips. It occured to me later that in a very busy precint, there wouldn't be much stopping someone from picking up an old one and getting another ballot.

    Other observations:

    We had a 60% turnout, which was very gratifying. And though people grumbled about the wait, it wasn't more than an hour at the worst and I don't think it kept anyone from voting. The optical scan voters seemed to be faster than the DRE voters (possibly because they just ignored the judge ballot, which you can't do on the DRE). I think it was roughly 50-50 for each machine by the end. Quite a few people picked optical scan simply because there was a line for the DREs.

    Also: I have a vision-impaired friend who votes in Chicago (not sure what precinct. He used the audio on the DRE to vote. He was not instructed to review and cast his ballot: he thought he was finished when it said "Ballot complete". He called the pollworker over to confirm, and was told he was done. He firmly believes everyone was doing the best they could and there was no malicious intent to anything, but he did want to know if this was normal. I said he should have been instructed to verify and cast the vote, and that something should have printed out. I don't know why he wasn't instructed to do so by the audio. We presumed that the pollworker probably actually cast the vote, which also shouldn't have happened, but that concerned him less than the lack of instructions.

  • At 2:52 PM, Moderator said…

    Report from Ward 40, precinct 4, in Chicago:

    I arrive at the polling place near my house about 3:30 pm. The polling place is in a side hallway of an old public elementary school.

    1. Activating the keycard for the touch-screen.

    I decide to cast my votes on the touch screen (aka "DRE," for "Direct Recording Electronic") voting machine, so that I can observe such a machine in operation first-hand.

    The DRE has to be activated by a keycard, which in turn must be activated by a "card activator."

    A poll judge tries and fails to get the card activator to work. The Polling Place Administrator (PPA) goes over to help. The judge tells her that he's using the passcode that's jotted down on the Post-It note stuck to the machine. The PPA calls downtown and learns that the passcode for each precinct is listed on a placard affixed to the machine. She finds the code, types it into the activator, and the activator now works.

    The PPA takes the keycard over to the voting machine, inserts it, and shows me that the machine is now activated. She asks if she should move the machine to I can see the screen better. I tell her, Yes, that would be good because I'd like to take some photos of the machine while I'm voting. So she moves the machine back another foot or so.

    While voting, I take three photos solely of the DRE display. Nothing else in the polling place is within my camera's field of view. Nor do I use my camera--or even have it out of my pocket--at any other time while I'm in the polling place.

    2. Producing the paper record of my votes.

    I encounter no problems with selecting candidates on the DRE, nor with the system for printing out the paper record of my votes.

    After I enter all my votes, the machine prints out the first page of the paper record. I give it an OK.

    Then the second page gets printed. I pretend that the page is not OK, and ask to make a change to my votes. The DRE prints a large block-letter "VOID" across the bottom of the page; then rolls the page up, out of sight; and returns me to the vote-selection screen.

    I again tell the machine I'm done. This time I verify and give the OK to all three pages. When I'm done, the machine prints on the bottom of the last page a large "speckle" code (not a barcode, but a box containing what looks like random bits of sand). This presumably is an encoded version of my votes; but there are no numbers nearby, nor any other way that I can check the content or the accuracy of the code.

    The keycard ejects. I take it, leave the machine, and return the keycard to the judge.

    I then tender my pollwatcher credentials to a judge and take a seat at the end of the judges' table.

    3. Voters avoiding the DRE.

    I ask the PPA if I was the first person to use the machine today. She says Yes, people are avoiding the machine, even if they are invited to use it. She says, seniors especially feel that their votes are safer on a paper ballot.

    3. A problem occuring with the DRE.

    After twenty minutes, another voter asks to use the DRE. When it gives him trouble, the PPA calls downtown. While on the phone, she says something like "the green activator button?" She pushes something on the back of the machine, and then says that the machine is now working.

    4. Other pollwatcher acting improperly.

    A person with a poll sheet has been sitting at the entrance to the polling area. About 30% or 40% of the names are crossed off. Some of the names have large black dots placed after them in magic marker. He appears to be a pollwatcher, since he never sits at the judges' table.

    Twice in one hour I observe him speaking to voters who have just arrived and have not yet spoken to the judges; he looks up their address on the poll sheet, then tells them they need to go to a different polling place.

    It dawns on me only days later that this pollworker's action is illicit and fraught with potential for abuse.

    "Instructing the voter" is a responsibility that is reserved to poll judges and is forbidden to pollwatchers. And with good reason: It's possible for an unscrupulous pollwatcher to misinform voters who he believes are "unfriendly" to his candidate.

    For instance, if voters are directed to the wrong polling place, and get turned away there as well, they might just give up and decide not to vote.

    A poll sheet with identifying dots could help such a pollworker identify unfriendly voters.

    5. My getting ejected from the polling place.

    Two roving troubleshooters arrive from the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE). I overhear the man with the poll sheets telling one of the troubleshooters that someone was taking photos. I volunteer that I was the person. The troubleshooter tells me that I must now leave and not return, because taking photos in a polling place is illegal, except for the newsmedia.

    (During the previous week, I had spoken personally with a CBOE attorney, Jim Scanlon. He told me that enforcing this rule is up to the poll judges, that some poll judges will enforce this rule and some won't. The concern, he said, is for preserving the secrecy of the ballot and for keeping the polling process free of interference.)

    I ask if any of the judges is protesting my action. One judge says she protests; she says she remembers "from years ago" that taking photos is illegal. This judge did not protest to me earlier, though she had more than twenty minutes to do so. None of the other four judges (including the PPA) offer to protest.

    I tell the judges I will leave if they so direct, and I remind them that a majority vote of the judges is required if pollworker is to be removed.

    The troubleshooter steps forward and tells the judges that the matter is out of their hands. He asks whether I am going to leave or going to wait for the police. I say, I'll wait. He then orders me to go sit down, and interupts me when I try to speak further with the judges. I go sit down.

    The troubleshooter refuses to give me his name. He has no badge or name tag.

    Later, I again tell the judges that if they so vote, I will leave the polling place. The troubleshooter again interrupts, and the judges remain silent.

    After fifteen minutes, two police officers arrive and ask me to leave. I leave peacefully with the officers.

    I was in the polling place for just about one hour.

  • At 1:40 PM, Anonymous said…

    This is B. Stone Ward.

    Precinct 15 did not have enough judges and the call was made at 6:00 AM by another judge in the same place to send help.

    Around 7:30 - 3 men pulled up holding official looking envelopes and went in. I asked the older one where are you from?? Board of Elections he said. I asked if he knew Lance Gough, since my husband and I know Lance. He responded no. Then he spoke with the B. Stone precinct captain (Tom Norton from the 47th ward - retiree from City Housing Dept.) which he seemed to know, for a while and went inside. The precinct captain left the polling place with his car, returned 15 minutes later carrying 3 cups of coffee from Dunkin Donuts which he went into the polling place to give. Then he came outside again and stood there. I don't believe they were from downtown CBOE. Their auto plates said MAR DIV 5. I asked the same man who moved the electioniring cones further apart/away that I was a judge and could help if they were short - he said no, they were ok now.
    A. Glapa

  • At 2:29 PM, Andrew B. Spiegel, Kathy's lawyer said…

    The election in the 4th Representative District was held using an UNCONSTITUTIONAL BALLOT. Illinois Green Party Candidate Kathy Cummings was unconstitutionally deprived a place on the ballot.

    Then,although she attemtpted to run as a write in candidate, apparently none of the polling places in the 4th Rep. Dist. displayed in a prominent position, as required by law, a list of write in candidates. And apparently no polling place had write in instructions so the election judges could properly instruct voters who wanted to vote for a write-in candidate.

    And the IL Supreme Court may decide in January whether to take Kathy's appeal.

  • At 11:33 PM, Anonymous said…

    I was a first-time poll-watcher for Tammy Duckworth, at a polling place in a school in Lombard that was comprised of three precincts - 90, 109, and 117, if my memory serves me right. I was there for the last shift, from 4 till whenever we got out, which was around 9:30, I think. Between 5 and 7 there were two African American women and one Latino man who just coincidentally weren't on the rolls, though all of them had voted before in that district - in the case of the Latino man, he was the only member of his family who wasn't listed.

    People told me how important it was to be on friendly terms with the judges, and someone had suggested to me that I might take in donuts. Seemed like a good idea, particularly because it was around 4 o'clock. They were appreciative and friendly, and all was well until the first challenge. The first of the two African American women was told she couldn't vote because her name wasn't listed, and she was on her way out of the polling place when I stopped her, told her that I was a poll-watcher, asked her what had happened, and asked her to stay until the matter was resolved. She was very angry, and was glad to do so. She had not been offered a provisional ballot. I called our legal hotline, who said they would call the Board of Elections and get it straightened out. When I got off the phone, there was an altercation going on between the woman, who was refusing to leave, and this judge, this big white guy who pointed a finger at me, shaking with anger, and told me he could throw me out in a minute for disrupting the election. Somewhat carefully, and mindful of the fact that he could indeed do just that, I reminded him that I was within my rights, and I just wanted things to be fair, just like I knew he did. He didn't say anything after that - just told me that he had called the Board of Elections to ask if he should give the woman a provisional ballot, and they had said NO. (Why in God's name would he do that anyway? Didn't he know the law for himself? And as for the Board of Elections...) The final outcome was that someone from the County Commissioner's Office came out and instructed him to give the woman a provisional ballot.

    It was abundantly clear that the honeymoon period established by the donuts was over.

    Next was the Latino guy, and he had to wait a while (long enough for him to fill out my affidavit), but finally was given a provisional ballot, no sweat. When the other African American woman came, shortly before 7, there was a problem again. I asked her too to stay, and she too was angry, and she too emphatically told the judge she wasn't going to leave until things were resolved. This time he left the room altogether to call the Board of Elections, and he was gone a long time. Finally he came back, and grudgingly gave her her provisional ballot. By now it was well after 7.

    The next part was pretty funny. I asked the judges if they would give me a copy of the tape, because I had to know the numbers. No, they said. I told them I had to be able to see the numbers, and the big guy said I could see them on the wall - he explained to the others that they'd be on the wall for the public to see anyway. So this woman judge takes this very long tape and folds it over and over, about three or four inches square, and scotch tapes it all together and puts it up on the wall. I tell her I can't see anything, and would she mind taking the scotch tape off? She said no, she wouldn't, and I asked her if she'd take responsibility if I took it off and inadvertently tore the voting tape. She said absolutely not. I said I'd have to do it anyway, so I disentangled it, thank God without tearing anything.

    Reading it was something else. Finally a woman judge who was rather nice took pity on me and offered her help; she wasn't very good at reading it either, but together we figured it out, and Lord was I grateful to her.

    I called the office then, and they told that there had to be a second tape. Feeling pretty stupid that I hadn't realized that, I went back to the big guy and asked if he had another tape. He grunted yes without looking at me, and handed it to me right away.

    About 9:30 I walked out of there furious. Those three people had only gotten provisional ballots which would almost certainly never be counted anyway - it wasn't until two days later that I learned that they had I think it was 48 hours to prove their identity or their ballots would be tossed anyway, and I'm quite sure they didn't know that either. At least they had all felt better for having been able to vote at all, so it was worth it for that - but as far as the election was concerned, it almost certainly meant nothing. Three people in two hours in one polling place. Multiply that by how many hours in how many polling places, and how many people would that be? Even without all the other horrors of malfunctioning machines and everything else, that I knew were happening everywhere, not only here but all over the country - those numbers alone would be not insignificant.

    This was a baptism by fire for this one poll-watcher, for whom, even though I was aware of the problems and angry about them, they had been to a degree abstract until I'd had just a very small taste of them myself. Thank God there's a group like to join with in the long and what must often be thankless struggle to get fair elections for us all.

  • At 4:59 PM, Sharon Pierson said…

    Whem visiting the 26th precinct in the 49th ward as a pollwatcher, I was informed by the PPA there, Tara
    Roberts that they had not had a DRE to use for the entire day. It was set up as required and three people, one with a hearing impairment and two with a vision impairment tried to use it. The voters who used the audio apparatus
    stated that they could not get past the directions which kept repeating. With normal use the other voter stated that only one candidate for one race was on the screen and they could not get anything else to show up.The PPA
    closed down the machine and another was brought to the precinct. This machine was never
    functioning for this precinct.Initially when data for thisprecinct was supposed to be printed out by the DRE replacement
    data for many precincts was printed
    instead. An attempt to remedy this
    problem using the card activator did not help. As a result this machine was never used and no other
    DRE was brought. Fortunately the Optiscan worked ok.


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