On March 14, the Chicago Defender wrote about the possibility of voting machines malfunctioning when Harold Lucas, Director of the Bronzeville Information Visitor Center, stated that he believed his vote was disenfranchised because of the machines malfunctioning twice before disqualifying his vote.
Last week, a federal lawsuit was filed by Gregory E. Kulis and Associates LTD, the law firm representing several plaintiffs who happened to be “Election Monitors” and “Voters” this past election season. In the suit against the Chicago Board of Elections (BOE) and its attorney James M. Scanlon, the plaintiffs allege that during their observation and monitoring of the 5% audits required by law, that they “observed numerous BOE employees miss a significant number of votes for their tabulation.”
Pursuant to Illinois statute 10 ILCS 5/24C-15, prior to proclaiming a final count, the election authority must test the voting devices and equipment in 5% of the precincts within the election jurisdiction, as well as 5% of the voting devices used in early voting. This, according to election officials, is done randomly to ensure the integrity of the voting process.
It was during this 5% test, usually referred to as an “audit,” that the plaintiffs allege the misconduct occurred. The misconduct occurred at the BOE’s storage facility where all the voting machines are kept, at 1869 W. Pershing Road. The plaintiffs allegedly witnessed, according to the suit, BOE employees changing errors and discrepancies in hand-tallied results as read from the “paper tape” to match the “official” results from the voting machines. This, the suit alleges, is a violation of the Illinois Election Code.
Early Voting Problem
Back in March’s election, Harold Lucas said he encountered this experience during the early voting at Bee Library, located at 3647 S. State Street. “I’m looking at what they said I voted for. It showed me on the screen what [I] voted for, then I looked over at the little roll, the paper roll and it did not coincide with what I voted on the sheet card,” he stated.
“I cast my ballot for someone other than Tammy Duckworth. It had Tammy Duckworth in there, I didn’t vote Mendoza because I don’t like her at all, she has no opposition. I left her blank,” he said. At which point Lucas called over one of the election judges to share his concerns. “I called over the lady and she said maybe I hit the clicks wrong. I said no I didn’t. And told her the sheet is [not] showing what I voted for.”
When we contacted the Board of Elections regarding the allegations, James Allen, the spokesperson, had this to say: “The voter began to vote and then stopped and complained that the wrong district and candidate was appearing on his touch screen. At that point, the Early Voting election official correctly deactivated the voter’s card.”
Allen further said that “The voter and the election official then looked up the voter’s information on the districts where he is registered to vote. The election official attempted to present the voter with the candidate list so that the voter could see for himself that the district and candidate in question were correct and did belong on his ballot.”
Mary Francis Berry, in her book Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich, examines the role of election fraud and how it impacts our democracy. In it, a University of Illinois political scientist concludes, “The Chicago metropolitan area is the most corrupt in the country since 1976. And Illinois is the third-most corrupt state after New York and California.”
Allen said back in March, “We will have the warehouse staff check the touchscreens to verify the calibration even though there have been no demonstrations by any voters that something was out of calibration.”
Ironically, this is where the lawsuit alleges the misconduct occurred. Harold Lucas said after attempting to correct his vote twice and the machine malfunctioning, “I couldn’t cast my vote. I was disenfranchised.”