Illinois Election Incidents Hotsheet

Recount your experience of election irregularities in Illinois.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Illinois Election Incidents Hotsheet

Thanks for visiting the Illinois Election Incidents Hotsheet!

They say there are two things you don't want to see being made: Sausage, and legislation. Add to those a third: "elections."

Problems abound before, during, and after elections: Equipment failures, human error, accidents. But only glimmers of that gets passed along to the public. And what does get passed along is culled, edited, condensed, and formatted to suit the distributor, whether it's a newspaper, a TV station, or a government office.

What Illinois citizens need and deserve is an outlet that publishes their personal experiences and personal reports--complete and intact, without filtering, editing, or watering down.

An outlet like the Illinois Election Incidents Hotsheet.

We've created this site to help you--
Call in problems that need immediate attention.
Read up-to-the-minute citizen reports. (Click here or scroll down.)
Write reports for everyone to see--instantly, word for word.
Upload audio or video records of problems.
Review reports from previous elections. (See list at top right.)

To post your report, click here

We're grateful for your visit. Please check back, and please post!

Roy Lipscomb
Hotsheet moderator

P. S. Please verify that your voter registration hasn't been zapped by a computer glitch! Verify for Chicago or for suburban Cook County.

Also, please--"Don't Vote Early".


  • At 6:39 AM, Blogger Roy Lipscomb said…

    Here are the Posting Guidelines:
    * Very long reports are OK.
    * Please specify--
       1) your county,
       2) your town,
       3) your ward,
       4) the date and time of occurrence.
    * Your name and precinct are desirable, but optional.
    * You may use "Anonymous" as your identity.
    * Check back later for responses.


  • At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Voter intimidation tactics are employed across the nation.
    Almost 40 years after the historic Voting Rights Act was enacted, many Americans are still subjected to threats and intimidation when they try to exercise their right to vote. For example:
    In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, flyers were circulated under the banner “Milwaukee Black Voters League” which warned that, anyone who had voted earlier in the year was ineligible to vote in the presidential election, residents who had been convicted of any offense and their families were ineligible to vote, and that violation could result in ten years imprisonment and the voters’ children being taken away.3
    In Columbia, South Carolina, a letter purporting to be from the NAACP threatened that voters with outstanding parking tickets or unpaid child support would be arrested.4
    In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, voters in African American communities were systematically challenged by men carrying clipboards who drove a fleet of some 300 sedans with magnetic signs designed to look like law enforcement insignia.5
    Voter suppression through lies and deception is even more common.
    The use of tricks designed to fool Americans into staying home on Election Day is even more widespread than outright intimidation. For example:
    In Orange County, California, 14,000 registered voters received a letter in Spanish that warned that it was illegal for immigrants to vote. The letter also stated that immigrants who voted could go to prison.6
    In Lake County, Ohio, newly-registered voters received a fake letter that appeared to come from the Lake County Board of Elections. The letter said that voter registrations gathered by Democratic campaigns or the NAACP were illegal and that those voters would not be allowed to vote.7
    In Orlando, Florida, a first-time voter was visited by a woman with a clipboard who asked how she was going to vote. When the voter replied that she preferred Kerry, the visitor told the voter that she needn’t go to the polls because her vote had been recorded on the clipboard. This same tactic was repeated throughout Florida.8
    In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, a flyer designed to look like an official announcement from McCandless Township claimed that, because of expected “immense voter turnout,” the 2004 election would be conducted over two days. The flyer requested that Republicans vote on November 2, while Democrats should vote on November 3.9
    Americans are also denied the right to vote by preventable mistakes on the part of election officials.
    In 2000, a million more votes would have been cast or counted if voters and precinct officials had understood basic election rules.10 Mistakes about voters’ rights continued in 2004. For example:
    In Ames, Iowa, an election official prevented nearly 100 university students from voting by instructing polling places to close at the scheduled time despite the fact that people were still waiting in line.11
    In south Florida, eligible voters were turned away because election officials misinterpreted the laws governing photo identification.12
    The federal Voting Rights Act does not adequately protect voters.
    Voter intimidation is a federal crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But most violators are never punished because federal prosecutors are unable or unwilling to pursue these cases. Further, while federal law applies to intimidation, it does not prohibit willfully fraudulent voter suppression tactics. Federal law also does nothing to prevent mistakes by election officials.
    States can adopt the Voter Protection Act.
    The Voter Protection Act combines the best practices of laws in California, Connecticut and Illinois. It employs three avenues to ensure that every eligible voter is allowed to vote:
    Penalties for intimidation and suppression—Heavy penalties would be imposed for both voter intimidation and suppression. Most states currently prohibit voter intimidation but not fraudulent suppression. Many state voter intimidation laws also have inadequate penalties.
    Voter’s Bill of Rights—Every polling place would be required to post a Voter’s Bill of Rights. Seven states (CA, CT, FL, IN, MN, NV, NJ) currently have a Voter’s Bill of Rights.
    Election Day Manual of Procedures—A book that clearly sets out election rules would be available to both voters and officials at the polls. In 2005, New Jersey and Washington enacted laws requiring an election manual.
    Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, “Voting: What Is, What Could Be,” July 2001.
    People for the American Way, “Election Protection Had Powerful Impact, But Election System Still Fails Voters,” November 5, 2004.
    People For the American Way, “Run-Up to Election Exposes Widespread Barriers to Voting,” November 2004.
    Associated Press, “Bogus Letter Circulating in South Carolina Warns of Arrests of Deadbeat Voters,” October 30, 2004.
    People For the American Way Foundation and NAACP, “The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today,” 2004.
    Aurelio Rojas, “Officials probe mailer that warns Latino voters,” The Sacramento Bee, October 18, 2006.
    Jay Maynor, “Phony letters tell people they cannot vote,” WKYC-TV, October 28, 2004.
    David Karp, Michael Sandler and Tamara Luch, “Dirty tricks litter path to election,” St. Petersburg Times, October 29, 2004.
    “Run-Up to Election Exposes Widespread Barriers to Voting.”
    “Voting: What Is, What Could Be.”
    “Voters Turned Away in Ames,” Des Moines Register, October 22, 2004.
    “Voter ID Problems in Florida,” New York Times, October 7, 2004.

  • At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    POLLWATCHER: Melisa Urda
    POLLWATCHER CREDENTIALS ISSUED BY: Illinois Ballot Integrity Project
    POLL LOCATION: Butler Government Center 1200 Oak Brook Rd. Oak Brook, IL (DuPage County)
    POLL ID: EV 04 (Early Voting Location 4)
    DATE: October 17, 2008
    TIME: 3:20PM-4:20PM
    ELECTION "CLERK": Brian Garvin
    (In DuPage, Early Voting personnel are clerks, not judges)

    3:20 PM VIEW NUMBER OF VOTERS Total Voters= 519
    Numbered acquired by viewing the stack of paper slips that records voter name as they are processed to vote. Pollwatcher checked that the paper slips were initialed by TWO "clerks" to validate voter and ballot.

    Machine # 0248134
    Ballot Count: 120
    Total Machine Count: 0003002

    Machine # 0236541
    Ballot Count: 85
    Total Machine Count: 0003391

    Machine # 0230374
    Ballot Count: 79
    Total Machine Count: 0003009

    Machine # 0230374
    Ballot Count: 79
    Total Machine Count: 0003009

    Machine # 0258916
    Ballot Count: 38
    Total Machine Count: 00029733
    (Handicapped machine)

    Diebold touchscreen machine # 0230374 froze while a voter was attempting to vote. The "instruction page" on the screen would not advance to the next screen page. Brian Garvin, election judge, called the Election Commission for advice.

    The instruction page did finally advance to the next, but subsequent pages also froze, in spite of repeated attempts to go to the next page, including the cast ballot page. The daughter of the voter filled out an affidavit (purple sheet)to assist her mother (the voter)to vote. The daughter also had problems advancing the pages. Repeated attempts were also made to cast the ballot.

    A different clerk, folded the privacy arms of the machine that froze. She instead directed the machines that worked better. She said that particular machine had been having problems.

    Brian Garvin folded the security flaps of the election machines over the screen, so that the pollwatcher could not view that the machines tally increased. He was told by Doreen Nelson, Assitant Director of the DuPage County Election Commission not to allow the pollwatcher go near the machines.

    Pollwatcher was about to show the "clerk" Brian Garvin the law, (10ILCS 5/24C-8)that ALLOWS a pollwatcher to view election machines:

    "Pollwatchers as provided by law shall be permitted to closely observe the judges in these procedures and to periodically inspect the Direct Recording Electronic Voting System equipment when not in use by the voters."

    Other pollwatchers should be advised of the above law.

    However, a voter wishing to vote,could not as explained below.

    Voter, CZ, 23, resident of Oak Brook, registered to vote September 21, 2008 at the Butler Community Center. She had in her possession the green voter application slip as proof of her registration. Her name and address was not in the voter system. "Nancy" (no last game was given) election "clerk" called the election commission. After talking to the commission, Nancy stated to CZ that "they cannot guarantee early voting registration will be in the system."

    CZ was told that she had to go to the Election Commission to re-register and vote there. She was handed a "business card" with the written address and phone for the Election Commission.

    CZ was very upset and said that she was being disenfranchised. Said that this has happened twice to her: once in CT, where she registered to vote and was not on the voter rolls, and now here in DuPage County, IL. Said though she registered to vote TWICE, she has been removed TWICE from the voter rolls in two different states. She was unable to vote in the last presidential election, in spite of registering to vote.

    An incident report and affidavit testifying that the above are correct has been completed by the pollwatcher.

    The name and address of the voter, for the sake of their personal identity has been privacy has been withheld. As well as those with date of birth changes.

    Other information gathered:
    Number of Deceased voters: 2
    Number of People with Change of Birth Date: 10


    People wanted some confirmation that they voted. Perhaps have a printer that kicks out a sticker.

    Tell them (the voter) no printed pages come out (of the machine).

    Have a "demo" to show people what to expect or video direction and run it through before they enter to vote.

    Pink sheet had no written reports regarding machine malfunction, (freezing) voters being redirected to the commission, or any other problems.

  • At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Neal Resnikoff said…

    I have been an election judge in Chicago's 33rd ward, 17th precinct, for several elections. During the summer I received an application for the November election, and returned it right away. As of a few weeks ago, I heard nothing about being a judge in November. I called the Board of Elections, and they said they had not done the 33rd ward yet, but there was no problem. As of Monday, October 20, I still had not heard anything, and so called again. Today I was told that the ward office had filled up all of the positions in the 17th precinct. This left me out. Was this because I had consistently challenged the methods of the precinct committee woman? Anyway, the person at the Board of Elections, with a talk show radio program blaring in the background, checked whatever on her computer, and finally asked me if I would like to be placed in my home precinct. I said fine, and she said I would receive notice of a training meeting in the mail...Good ole Board efficiency at work. -- Neal Resnikoff

  • At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live in Evanston, Cook County, ward 2, and I voted yesterday. I asked the workers in the Evanston City Hall about using a paper ballot; they told me that the touch screen machine was my only option. Today I read the comment that voters who will be out of the country are entitled to request a paper "absentee" ballot. I post my experience so that those of you who might not ask will know.
    Elizabeth Mertic
    October 21, 2008

  • At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The saga about the Chicago Elections Board ignoring some experienced people ready to serve as election judges continues. I myself, after repeated calls, was finally given an assignment as judge, tho there was confusion about which class I was to attend for training. I was eventually registered for two classes instead of one, and was told I could not cancel one because there was no computerized list of who was signed up for each class.

    Although I finally was given an assignment as judge, after repeated calls, I know two other people who have experience as judges who have not been called to duty, and who had trouble getting through the phone lines at the Board of Education.

    Usually there is a shortage of judges, and you would think the Board of Elections would be eager to have experienced judges on hand.

  • At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Neal Resnikoff said…

    One of the teachers of the class for election judges, an employee of the Board of Elections, told the class that in the periodic updating of registration lists based on some kind of check through the U.S. Post Office, her registration had been removed! This is another case in which, throughout the country, there are reports of millions being removed from the registration rolls.

  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Tony said…

    I voted early last Saturday (10/25/2008) as I'll be out of town on election day.....well, at least I tried....funny thing....I got to the voting building designated for my zone (Wayne Township) only to find it "closed, loss of power" ...that is, there were two people outside the building turning people away saying, sorry, you can't vote as we've lost power....amazing, especially if one is a little paranoid (as I am nowadays)....many cars were driving into the parking lot and being told to go away, can't vote, no power.....I attempted to park my car and one of the people walked over to my car and said don't bother, the building is closed.....I parked anyway, then walked over to the front door only to be told that the building was locked.....I looked at the guy and then asked "okay, then just where can I vote right now" ....he looked at his partner who shrugged her shoulders, then said, I'd "have to drive over to the county headquarters building, they'll take your vote there".....I asked where this building was and they said "it wasn't far away, but don't know its address".....I noted a small 8.5 x 11" paper posted on the door and said well maybe that would which point the woman said "oh, it's building 421 turn right at the corner over there"....I got in my car a drove about 3 miles to the location.....the parking lot was completely full and I couldn't park....I drove around and parked in a parking lot about a block away then walked to building 421.....yep, it was open and votes were being taken....there were about 75 people in front of me all waiting and I waited about 30 minutes to vote.....I finally voted.....when I walked out the line had doubled to around 150, all waiting but the location was scheduled to close in 20 minutes....I felt good, but had to shake my's not a good feeling being paranoid

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger thea said…

    Cook County, City of Chicago, 48th Ward
    Tuesday, November 4th

    I am a pollwatcher with credentials from Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. I have been observing at Senn High School in the 48th Ward, which is the polling place for 3 precincts: 1, 42, and 52.

    A judge was standing at the door with a list of addresses and names to direct voters to the correct precinct, but he told me that he had discovered that the list provided to him was not completely accurate, and some people were in a different precinct.

    It appeared that almost all of the voters at this polling place voted at another location in the last election. Some said were sent a letter telling them to come to this polling place, but a copy of the letter I saw did not state which of the three precincts they were in.

    The way the polling place was set up, most people ended up going to the 1st precinct table so they had long lines and the other precincts mostly were empty. the first precinct had only four judges.

    Several of the voting booths (both for paper and electronic ballots) were positioned such that they were facing toward the center of the room, and therefore were not private. The room was not big enough to make all the voting booths private.

    All voters in the 1st precinct were given paper ballots, unless they did not have an application in the book, in which case the judges gave them an electronic provisional ballot. The judges did not check the voter's name against the list of eligible voters when their application was not in the book.

    In the hour I was present, 5 people were given provisional ballots. 1 voter was carrying a voting card that said she was to vote at a different location, but her fiance at the same address had an application in the book. I tried to help her call the board of elections to verify her precinct but the call did not go through and she decided to vote a provisional ballot.

    A second voter was erroneously given a federal ballot on electronic voting machine. she complained to the judges and I believe they recoded her card to give her a regular ballot.

    a third voter had not received confirmation of her registration by mail. The judges gave her a provisional ballot that did not tell her that she needed to provide additional verification of her registration in order for her ballot to be counted.

    although the con con material was posted in all the voting booths, voters were not handed the blue sheet until I mentioned that I thought that was necessary. The judges of the first precinct were not very receptive to my questions or suggestions, and did not know many of the rules listed in the judges handbook, such as acceptable forms of ID for those with the gray application.

    the last voter I observed had a gray application and the judge required her to fill out a change of address affidavit even though she was registered at the address where she currently resides. When I questioned the judge about this she was very hostile to me, asking me if I would like to do her job instead. However, the voter did get a full ballot.

  • At 4:07 PM, Blogger thea said…

    Cook County, City of Chicago, 48th Ward
    Tuesday, November 4th

    I observed precincts 30, 48, 50 and 51 in the 48th ward. No complaints at any of these precincts. The judges were very helpful and friendly, passed out con con information, and gave voters a choice between paper and electronic.

    Three voters came to the 30th precinct but were not on the rolls because they moved within the past 30 days. Unfortunately, they could not make it back to their old precinct (across town) today so were not able to vote.

    No other problems were encountered.

  • At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Steve Livingston said…

    County: Cook
    City: Chicago

    39th Ward - 43rd pct.
    * Judge didn't get ballot scanner working until about 10am. First 90 ballots sent into slot in ESL and are to be run through scanner at end of day.
    * At first there were not enough marking pens, but more arrived later.
    * Judges unable, at first, to locate affidavits for provisional voting.

    39th ward - 40th pct.
    * At least 3 persons were allowed to vote provisionally but weren't informed that they also were required to present ID at 69 W. Washington in order for their vote to be counted. This was due to judge’s lack of awareness of the requirement. PPA for this pct (and 3 others voting in same building) got this straightened out at about 9:00 am.

    39th Ward - 26th and 37th pcts.
    * I'm unaware of any problems with there occurring Tues. morning.

  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I received NO blue Con Con slip (or any other information on Con Con, written or verbal), when I voted yesterday afternoon (about 3:30 pm) at the 5th Precinct of the 49th Ward in Chicago at 7450 North Rogers Avenue (Gateway Centre Apartments).

    Otherwise, the people running the polling place were professional, courteous, and helpful.

    Ernest B. Norrman, Jr.

  • At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Dr. Lora Chamberlain said…

    Hello, I am Dr. Lora Chamberlain and I myself watched 4 precincts non compliant to the blue Con-Con fliers.

    Chicago Ward 37, prec 21, approx 11:30am, The judges had the blue fliers on the tables but were not giving them out to the voters, I got the name of one voter coming out of the poll who did not get a flier who would agree to talking to someone but did not have the time to fill out an affidavit;
    Danny Pierce, 4949 Iowa, Chicago, 60651, 708-772-1673

    Chicago Ward 37, prec 36 At the Jennings Peoples Funeral Home, 5022 W. Chicago at 12:02pm, I walked in and there were no blue Con-Con fliers anywhere, I followed a few voters out of the polling place to see if they would sign affidavits but none of them agreed to it but one of their friends said that she would sign an affidavit later if someone contacted her because when she voted at her polling place at 20th and Michigan she did not get the flier either, her name is
    Cora Robinson, 2001 S. Michigan, Apt 6L, Chicago 6016, 312-282-3529
    I went back into the polling place and when I asked the judges they said they did not know anything about the blue Con-Con fliers and I asked them to look into the container from the elections division and then they found them and pulled out the fliers and put them out on the table.

    Chicago Ward 37, prec 10 at 1:55pm Blue fliers posted in all the poll booths alone but only given out to the 20 voters, the judges said that they ran out of them and were not sent enough of them but when I told them to look harder in the election container then they found a large pack of them and started to give them out to the voters.

    Chicago Ward 13, prec 39 approx 3pm in afternoon, judges put the fliers in the booths but were not giving them out to the voters themselves until I asked them, they were stacked on the table but being completely disregarded.

  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger Roy Lipscomb said…

    Observations on the Conduct of the Con-Con Referendum

    3th Precinct

    This precinct was properly distributing the blue slip by the time I arrived.

    One judge told me that the training for the blue slip was confusing. She said it seemed as though the trainer was telling the judges to ignore the blue slip. But, the judge said, the trainer was probably trying to say, "Tell the voters to ignore the referendum wording on the ballot."

    4th Precinct

    I was not given a blue slip when I applied for my own ballot at 9:32 am. There were no blue slips on the judges' table or anywhere else in sight.

    I informed the judges that they were supposed to be giving a blue slip to each voter. They were agreeable to doing so for all subsequent voters. One of the judges found a pad of blue slips in the storage cabinet and placed it on the judges' table.

    A blue slip had been posted in the booth, but it was on the left wall of the booth, edge-on to my sight. I would not have noticed or read it if I had not already known about the con-con referendum.

    7th Precinct

    This precinct was properly distributing the blue slip by the time I arrived.

    11th Precinct
    13th Precinct
    47th Precinct

    These three precincts occupied the same polling place, a meeting room at St. Ignatius Parish.

    Precinct 47 was passing out the blue slip, but the other two were not. The latter two precincts did not have blue slips on the judges' table, though each of those precincts had a pad on a back table.

    I mentioned this deficiency to one of the judges in precinct 47. She apologized, saying the judges at other two precincts were first-timers. At my request, she informed them about the blue-slip requirement, and they willingly complied.

    This occurred about 11:35 am. At that time, precinct 13's optiscan counter was at 247, and precinct 11's was at 174.

    27th Precinct

    * This precinct was properly distributing the blue slip by the time I arrived.

    * Also in this precinct, I met two representatives of the states attorney's office who were making a routine visit. They said their main interest was in how the blue slips were being managed. They said only about half of the eleven precincts they'd visited so far (10:10 am) were distributing the slips.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Roy Lipscomb said…

    Some Problems Encountered in Precincts of the 40th Ward

    I visited seven precincts on election day. Operations in the polling place were for the most part routine, though judges reported that there were very long waiting lines between 6 am and about 9 am.

    Several judges complained that the training they received was minimal. One judge said the training consisted of nothing but how to set up the equipment. She said there was no training on how to manage voters' problems, except to be "friendly." Another judge had a trainer who appeared interested only in getting through the prescribed material, and who "blew off" questions from the trainees.

    The deficiency in training seemed evident in how three particular problems were handled.

    * A young man asked to vote, but his name was not present on records in the poll. So a judge gave him the phone number for the elections department and told him to go call them and clear up his status. After the man left, I asked the judge if a provisional ballot would have been appropriate. One of the other judges disagreed. They checked the judges manual, and they concluded that the young man did indeed qualify for a provisional ballot. But he was long gone by then.

    * A young woman said she could not get to her polling place before it closed, because she lived miles away. So she asked if she could vote here in the 40th Ward. The judge in the precinct told her she couldn't. I suggested that she might qualify to vote on a provisional Federal ballot. He said he didn't think it would be valid, but he ceded to the young woman's request to vote that way.

    * Even though a touch-screen voting machine seemed to be malfunctioning for provisional voters, the precinct continued to allow provisional voters to use the machine. (Described below.)

    Here are problems I observed that relate to voting machines:

    Precinct 3

    While a voter reported that when she was selecting candidates on her touch-screen ballot, an error message flashed up: "Failure to save at start." The voter continued to try to vote, including pressing the "Vote" button several times. Finally, she reported the problem to the judges.

    The PPA called downtown and was told to check the status on the smartcard. Its status was "unvoted." The judges were told to retire that card and to give the voter a paper ballot. The PPA then restarted the machine. It exhibited no further problems during the next hour (just before I arrived) and during the hour and a half I was present. By the time I left (2:30 pm), the machine had served about 39 voters.

    Precinct 11

    The judges told me that during the intial setup they had a problem with their touch-screen voting machine. When they first booted it up, it flashed an error message: "Missing Cartridge." They called downtown and were told to break the seal on the machine and to check inside to see if a cartridge was present. They did so, and saw that a cartridge was present. A judge touched the cartridge, but it wouldn't move. When they closed up the machine and turned it on, it now worked fine. As of about noon, the machine had exhibited no further problems.

    Another judge told me that one voter's ballot got jammed in the optiscan several times. But one of the judges handled the problem, and the machine offered no other problems.

    Precinct 27

    Provisional ballots seemed to give indigestion to this precinct's touch-screen machine. Whenever a voter would insert a smartcard configured for a provisional ballot, the machine would immediately eject the card, blank the screen, and freeze.

    This happened for four different voters. Each time, the judge would reset the machine, then reactivate the card for a standard ballot instead of a provisional ballot. This enabled the voter to cast a ballot on the machine without further incident. The judge kept a record of the ID number for each ballot that was cast in this way. He said he would send this information downtown with the other records from the precinct, so that these ballots could be treated as provisionals.

    When I visited later in the day, the judge said he had discovered the source of the problem: The instruction booklet was misleading. It did not give complete instructions on how to activate the smartcard for a regular provisional ballot. Instead, the manual seemed to guide the judge into activating the smartcard for an audio provisional ballot. Audio ballots come up with a blank screen.

    The judge said he discovered he should have been pushing "Menu" then "1." The instruction book led him to believe he was to push "Menu" then "3." I examined the booklet, and I agree with his assessment.

    Precinct 47

    A voter reported that, when she touch the Obama button on the touch-screen, the McCain button lit up instead. She said this happened several times. After the judges tried and failed to fix the problem, they shut down the machine and called downtown.

    About three hours later, a service tech arrived. She worked on the machine, recalibrated it, then declared it functional.

    One of the judges wanted the service tech to confirm that the machine was fixed. She ask the tech to simulate the routine of marking a ballot. The judge activated a card and gave it to the tech. The tech inserted it and press the button for "English." The screen came up in Spanish. The service person then pushed several other buttons. None worked right. The machine was then shut down and an order was placed for a new machine.

    When I visited the precinct at the end of the day, the unofficial "chief" judge told me that a replacement machine had arrived, but that she refused to turn it on. "Forget it," she said. "I've had enough of these machines."

    The problematic machine's results were tallied during the closing of the polls. The results indicated that twelve regular ballots had been cast, plus one provisional. The judges deemed this to be accurate.

    One of the judges then told me that the machine's problem occurred only after the first provisional ballot was cast on the machine. The provisional voter had withdrawn the card prematurely. The next voter was the one who experienced the vote-flipping.

  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ward 40, Precinct 28

    They had eight judges here. When I went to vote and asked the judge for my ballot appl. she asked me for ID instead of asking me for my name. I told her I thought I did not need ID and she said she requested it to see the spelling of my name. I got my ballot and a blue Con-con flyer at the same time, addressed the issues of the premature and unnecessary request for ID and the lack of privacy when a judge removes the ballot from the sleeve. I also observed one the judges "steering" a voter to the touchscreen, saying it was faster.
    The great majority of the voters here used paper ballots. The judges co-operated in letting the voters put their ballots into the Optiscan.

    Sharon Pierson

  • At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Dori said…

    Thanks for writing this.

  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Early morning 7-9am Evanston Crown Center, Ward 2, Prec 5 and 7 also Ward 9, Prec 4
    Long line in the hallway(30-40 voters) before you even get to the entrance of the gymnasium which was the polling place, voters with much confusion about where to go. The voters were from all 3 precincts and did not know whether to stay in line or move past the line. The set up of the polling places was part to blame; Prec 4 the heaviest turnout precinct was in the middle of the room, too close to prec 7 so the line for that prec engulfed all the voters in a sea of confusion. There was a very small sign way up at the top of the doorway missed by most voters with small arrows pointing to the various precincts, one of the election judges should have been in the hall assisting voters to the correct precinct, also a precinct map should have been in the hall. the Precincts should have been set up in the corners of the gymnasium separated by as much space as possible and easily identified with large signs.
    Prec 5 had a DRE machine malfunction that delayed it's use for an hour in the early am, one of the machine managers got it running, prec 5 also had only 3 judges and they were not able to get in touch with anyone form the Election Division by phone, finally a manager from the David Orr's office came in to help and word was given to him about the 3 judge situation. No replacement by 9am when I left.
    Lastly, there was a table in the hallway leading up to the entrance of the polling places, Approximately 50 feet form the doorway where all the voters were just dumping their electioneering information, I guess for other voters to take. I mentioned it to the election manager and I asked the Evanston Dems who were outside passing out the stuff to go in periodically and clean the table up because it violated election law.

    Ward 13, Prec 11
    88 provisional ballots given out by 3:30pm, the whole poll book was pink applications per the judge, she did not know what had happened in her precinct for this problem. There were a lot of complaints from the registered voters who have lived there a long time when given affidavits to vote a provisional ballot, they even ran out of affidavits and had to get dropped off some more HQ. The judges were telling the voters to go to downtown office within 48 hours and giving correct info on what info to bring to get their vote counted. The Attorney Generals office had already sent over some lawyers to check out the situation.

    Ward 39, Prec 46th
    Touch screen machine was taking too long for screens to come up and it was broken completely early in the day but the equipment manager fixed it for a while, no one was voting on it. There was a table in the center of the room where all the voters were sitting around voting on their paper ballots rather than the booths that were in the back of the room, no privacy shield or privacy at all, but the judge told me they were voting that way voluntarily, they were just sitting down with the rest of the voters and relaxing.

    Ward 37, Prec 21
    Voters putting ballots in Optical Scanner by themselves, no judge there for 15-20 minutes until I mentioned it, no use of the privacy shields at all.

    In general the privacy shields were not being used at all or only partially in every precinct that I visited in Chicago and the blue fliers were not given out or just in a pile on the table but not once were they explained to the voters, in at least 10 precincts I had to tell the judges what the purpose of the blue flier was all about, they had no idea it's function.
    Dr. Lora

  • At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Neal Resnikoff said…

    Sorry for this late posting on my observations as an election judge in precinct 16, Ward 33 in Chicago on November 4, 2008. I was in an election place sharing space with precinct 29 as well.

    There was a lot of lack of clarity among judges about the guidelines for running the election, and the importance of following these. Judges may comment on problems they see, but, unless an issue is brought to a vote of judges, a problem may or may not get resolved.

    Here is what I observed during the day--

    1. Some judges were insisting on asking voters for their IDs, even tho IDs are not needed to vote in the election, only signatures.

    2. Some judges were not checking signatures to see if they matched the signature in the registration book.

    3. Some judges were not checking the early voter lists or absentee voters lists to prevent anyone from voting twice. (An hour or more into the election one of the judges did go through the registration book to dog ear the names of voters who had already voted in early voting or through absentee voting.)

    4. A card activator went down in one precinct, giving out a whistling sound. The tech was unable to solve the problem. A City tech came in around 10:30 to check out the problem. It turned out the card activator had not been plugged in to the wall properly, and was running on battery, which gave out. Luckily, no problems were caused by this.

    5. At least one person came in who said they had voted in previous elections only to find that their name was not in the registration book this time. They were not allowed to vote.

    6. There were several who had moved but had not re-registered at their new address within the local precinct. They were not allowed to vote.

    7. Approximately 20 people misread material sent to them in the mail about where to vote, and ended up at an early voting site rather than in the polling place for their local precinct. The materials mailed are obviously not written in a clear enough way.

    8. The con-con information sheets were to be handed to each voter according to a court ruling and instructions at the voting site. However, some judges just put a pile out and said that was enough to do.

    9. A number of people came into the wrong polling place, and had no idea where they should go to vote. There was not a map of adjacent wards nor a list of voting places in those wards.

    10. There was a shortage of secrecy sleeves for ballots, and a lack of clarity among judges about encouraging voters to keep their ballot in the security sleeves.

    11. A number of voters were not clear about the need to connect the lines on the arrows in order to have their votes count.

    12. The precinct poll watchers, as has been the case in other precincts, sits at one of the election tables and gets the name and address of each voter as they come in. They appear to be official judges, usually asking to look at ID to save themselves time figuring out the name of the voter, and even some of the judges are not aware that they are really have the designation of poll watcher.

    13. The alderman or other political candidate often waltzes through the polling place without offering credentials.

    14. The precinct political committee personnel offer food to help ease the way to do what they want during the day. There is often a loose attitude toward them as a result.

  • At 3:40 PM, Blogger Illinois Ballot Integrity Project said…

    This post has been removed by the author.


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