Voting problems, fraud, scandals plague polling places across America: ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS – November 16, 2018
Long lines at Illinois State University have prompted allegations of voter suppression from College Democrats, WGLT reports. Students who had just finished casting their ballot told GLT they waited between 45 minutes and 2 hours to vote. Those voters either had to register to vote or change their address.
Around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said her office was encouraging ISU students to travel to the Government Center in downtown Bloomington. Lines were also reported there, according to a tweet from McLean County Board candidate Shayna Watchinski. County Clerk Director of Elections Denise Cesario told GLT around 3:40 p.m. that they were sending additional equipment and two election judges to ISU.
“This is a disgrace,” Shayna tweeted.
McLean County Board member Laurie Wollrab, a Democrat who was unopposed in the election, said she was disappointed in the long line.
“There are only 10 actual voting machines set up, and so there’s a wait even once you get registered to actually cast your ballot,” Wollrab said. “I think the wait should be a great deal shorter because we’ve known about this congestion at this location for many years. I thought we’ve had it addressed several times over, but obviously it’s still not addressed.”
There also have been some reports of people being asked for identification when at the polling place, Belleville News Democrat reported. There was at least one report of poll workers asking for identification at a Troy polling place.
St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook said his office had received some complaints from voters but said election judges told him they weren’t asking for ID. However, ID is only needed if you’re registering to vote under Illinois’ grace period provisions.
Local Republican party officials also made accusations that money was being given to voters. Holbrook said investigators from the State Attorney’s office did not report any of that activity to him.
A Hyde Park polling place saw lines of up to two hours to vote in Tuesday’s election, partly because paper ballots were unavailable, The Chicago Maroon wrote. Voting occurred inside Montgomery Place, an assisted living facility at 5550 South Shore Drive. Voters said the polling place ran out of ballots by 4:30 p.m. and only had 300 ballots to begin with.
A video posted on Twitter by Council shows that the ballots arrived on-site around 7 p.m. Although polls closed at 7, those still in line when they closed were permitted to cast a ballot. According to the Chicago Tribune, city officials said people who waited in line were eventually able to vote, and they did not have to request extended voting hours for the polling place.
Update: Ballots have arrived at 7pm pic.twitter.com/UrLdWIdbzz— Sierra Alyse Council (@Sierra_Alyse) November 7, 2018
Later in a statement to WBEZ Chicago, Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen said the lack of ballots was the result of a clerical error.
On November 9, then-legislative-candidate Dan Caulkins shared a Facebook post: “If you don’t think voter fraud is real, send me a message. I know the electronic machine in the Forsyth Library is flipping Republican votes to Democrats. Also know of paper ballots where the back side was already voted – Democrats.”
Dan Caulkin said he’s heard of two incidents from friends voting at the Forsyth Library location on Election Day. The friend told the candidate they tried to vote electronically.
“They put the strip in four times and each time it flipped his vote from Republican to Democrat. They had to go get paper ballot,” Caulkins said.
Caulkins said the other issues he was told about were a few who went to vote had the back of their paper ballot already filled and it was filled in for Democrat.
Speaking with a WAND crew Tuesday night, Caulkins said a friend texted him to report that his father’s electronic voting machine had switched intended Republican votes to Democratic candidates. WAND reporters asked County Clerk Steve Bean about the Forsyth report.
“Honestly, the report in Forsyth was not reported,” Bean said. “It was reported to the Facebook page, but usually if there’s a problem … I’ve had a good relationship with the Republican and Democratic chairmen. They call me if there’s a problem like this.”
Bean said touching the screen too close to the lines between candidates could cause the machine to select the wrong candidate, but he also said electronic voting machines allow users to check their selections and give them printouts verifying their choices.
Bean also said he was notified of reports that ballots had already been marked.
“We’re going to talk to the vendor, because the vendor prints them,” Bean said. “They’re clean copies that they print, and there shouldn’t have been anything.”
The turnout was so great that the Rockford Board of Election Commissioners experienced a unique problem this year - a shortage of election judges, MyStateLine wrote. Chairman Ryan Brauns says it's an issue that's happening all over the country. To help solve the problem, he recruited judges from Rockford high schools.
"We used high school students as judges," Brauns said.
The Daily Northwestern reported that, despite strong desire to vote, some students’ absentee ballots never arrived. Many Northwestern students voting by mail said they never received absentee ballots, echoing a day rifled by concerns of voter suppression and difficulties.
Weinberg freshman Sam Imperato also did not receive his absentee ballot in the mail. At first, he was annoyed and thought he messed up something on his registration forms. But he later realized other people didn’t get theirs either.
“In New York, you can send it out the day before the election so I had hope until yesterday,” Imperato said. “Once I realized that I wasn’t going to get it yesterday it was too late to make a call to town hall and ask them to send it.”
Weinberg senior Keaton McNamara was “very angry” to find out her absentee ballot never came in the mail.
“I don’t know specifically if it was just lost in the mail or if there were just problems with bureaucracy,” McNamara said. “But it’s already hard enough to vote in my home state and so the fact that I didn’t get my absentee ballot made it feel like they didn’t want me to vote.”
McNamara called the voter registration office to find out the location of her ballot. The office said they would look into it but never got back to her. She also contacted her parents to see if it arrived at her home in Louisiana. It hadn’t.
“I haven’t changed addresses in the last year, so it’s a little sketchy,” McNamara said.
“It sucks to feel like you couldn’t vote and participate in this day because your state prohibited you from doing so,” McNamara said.
According to Daily Journal, massive election equipment failure for more than five hours in the middle of Election Day left hundreds of voters waiting for as many as three hours across Johnson County.
Election officials had considered requesting a court order to extend voting by one hour earlier in the day because of the widespread technical glitch, but decided not to once the system was repaired. It is unclear how many voters were unable to wait in such lengthy lines, and unable to return later to cast their ballot.
Voters who were in line at one of 20 vote centers at 6 p.m. were allowed to vote, per state law, regardless of the length of the line. Voting ended at the last vote center around 9 p.m.
Election officials scrambled to fix the technical problem that stalled voting mid-day, which was an issue with the county’s vendor, ESS software, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that serves nearly 3,000 voting jurisdictions around the nation.
Electronic poll books, which are used to check people in before they can move on to a voting machine, kept freezing. Each time that happened, nobody could sign in to vote, which put lines at a standstill and left several voting machines empty.
Voters at Edinburgh Public Library, which rarely has long lines during elections, waited 45 minutes to an hour Tuesday afternoon, said Jason Lawson, an Edinburgh school board candidate. Voters at centers on the north side of the county, such as Mount Pleasant and the White River Township branch of the Johnson County Public Library, waited 2.5 hours.
“Worst election I’ve ever dealt with,” Misiniec said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Marie Smith has been a poll inspector for 20 years, but said this is the first time she remembers having malfunctions on Election Day.
“It’s gotten worse and worse and we’re just at a standstill,” said Smith, a poll worker at Mount Pleasant Christian Church. “Originally it would take about 40 seconds. Now we’re dead. No one is checking in.”
The standstill lasted about 20 minutes before the four voters at the table got their chance to vote. Five minutes and six voters later, another stoppage.
A Greenwood woman who lives within walking distance of Rocklane Christian Church waited 2.5 hours on Tuesday to cast her ballot at the rural Greenwood vote center.
Kathy Feldhake was outraged that so many people may have lost their chance to vote in this election because of the glitch.
The county’s election board decided years ago not to offer a paper ballot option, which some voters argued could have served as a backup while the machines were down.
Under state law, the county is not required to provide paper ballots, since Johnson County uses voting machines. No paper ballots were available at vote centers on Tuesday. In order to vote on a paper ballot, voters had to follow the required state process for a mail-in ballot, and that deadline had passed.
Monica Contractor, a junior studying psychology at Loyola University Chicago and her sister waited about an hour at the 48th Ward’s 27th Precinct polling place in Edgewater before she got her hands on the ballot, Chicago Tribune wrote. She stayed put, calling the chance to vote a privilege.
The day was not without similar challenges. Long lines and waits were reported in many precincts. In five precincts, voting hours had to be extended past 7 p.m. due to problems including election supplies that were sent to the wrong place and shortages of election judges.
“I’m not happy,” Eurydice Moore said as she prepared to exit the Chicago police station on West Addison Street in Lakeview. The 62-year-old consultant said it took nearly an hour to cast her ballot because she was confused and election judges were too busy to help.
Earlier, Chicago election officials reported problems in more than 30 precincts related to election judges who didn’t give voters both pages of the paper ballot, despite reminders that election judges were to distribute both a ballot that lists candidates up for election and a second ballot that lists judges up for retention and nonbinding referendums. City election officials received reports from 32 precincts out of 2,069 that poll workers failed to hand out the second paper ballot, officials said, citing their call logs.
The DuPage County Election Commission spent more than $28,000 to mail notices to 55,000 Naperville residents about a ballot problem that meant they could only vote early at 2 of 11 locations — only to have the mail arrive after many people had already gone to vote.
And two days after early voting started — about the time some of those residents were receiving the notice — the location restriction was lifted.
The mailed notifications were dated Oct. 4, postmarked Friday, Oct. 19, and early voting began Monday, Oct. 22. The cost for sending the notices breaks down to $26,123 for postage, $320 for paper and $1,667 for envelopes, according to information obtained from the election commission, Chicago Tribune reported.
Complaints started coming in the first day of early voting when people were turned away from voting at the Olive Tree Condominiums in Naperville or another location in Downers Grove if they lived in the 41st District. By early afternoon on Oct. 23, the second day of early voting, DuPage Election Commission Chairwoman Cathy Ficker-Terrill posted a message online reversing the commission’s original position.
According to NBC Chicago, several voters across the Chicago area began reporting trouble at their voting locations in the city, some suburbs and in northwest Indiana.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said officials were working to fix issues in New Trier, Justice and Northlake.
Meanwhile, Chicago officials said they were working to fix issues at precincts in the 42nd Ward and the 5th Ward.
Spokesman James Allen also said he has received reports of numerous voters not receiving the second page of their ballots. Numerous voters in Chicago reported that they were missing pages on their ballots.
Both in and out of Chicago, voters complained of polling places not opening on time.
Voters used social media to report missing ballot stamps:
@cookcountyclerk New Trier Precinct 014 (410 Green Bay Road, Winnetka) has no ballot stamp. They called last night and multiple times this morning, were promised a stamp. When I left, no stamp, no way to use paper ballots. 20 people waiting, 2 had left. HELP!— ffranny (@ffranny) November 6, 2018
Delayed polling sites opening were reported:
Polling place in Mundelein has delayed opening, supposed to start at 6am.— Julia (@J_M_arie) November 6, 2018
People were standing outside the polls in rain
6:11 and DePaul polls not open. People standing outside in rain @nbcchicago— Tyler Johnson (@T_EEJ) November 6, 2018
“5th ward 09 precinct only had half the ballot. Workers couldn’t find access key for electronic voting machine,” complained others, NBC Chicago wrote.