Greens Report More Touch Screen Voting Irregularities in Chicago
NEW TOUCH SCREEN PROBLEMS, ABSENTEE BALLOT MESS FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT VOTERS NEED TO GO GREEN, SAY PARTY LEADERS
On the heels of “Whiteygate”, new problems have been reported with touch-screen voting machines in Chicago. This, coupled with a major voting rights issue involving absentee ballots, point to the need for serious electoral reform that won’t happen with Democratic officeholders, say Green Party leaders.
The Illinois Green Party has received two detailed complaints about how touch-screen voting machines used at Early Voting sites “flipped” votes for Green candidates to their Democratic opponents. In both cases, the voter was able to get the situation resolved, but concerns about what others voters who may not have made reports may have experienced has Greens troubled.
“We have been saying for years that there are problems with these touch-screen devices,” said Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the Illinois Green Party. “There is a clear systemic problem with our election system, and every election year something new and unprecedented happens which further erodes voter confidence.”
The first incident occurred at the 35th Ward Early Voting site, the Logan Square branch of the Chicago Public Library, at 3030 W. Fullerton. Jim Rhodes, in attempting to vote for Jeremy Karpen (running for 39th State Representative), kept having the voting machine register the vote as being for the Democratic incumbent. Election officials at the polling place wound up removing the machine.
The second incident occurred at the 4th Ward Early Voting site, King Community Center, at 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Mark Dreessen, in attempting to vote for gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, saw his vote “flip” to Democrat Pat Quinn. After repeatedly trying to reset his vote, the machine eventually registered the correct vote. But Dreessen remained concerned.
“It took seven more keystrokes to change my vote to what I had originally,” said Dreessen. “Most people would have given up.”
These incidents followed the well-publicized “Whiteygate”, where touch screen machines in Chicago, both on the review screen and on the accompanying paper trail, identified Whitney as “Whitey”.
“Chicago has a nearly unmatched reputation for election irregularities,” said Huckelberry. “The Chicago Board of Elections has to be held to the highest possible standards. When things like this happen, if they’re not intentional, then what we’re dealing with is gross negligence. Whether it’s corruption or incompetence, people are sick of it.”
In addition to the voting machine problems, this week a major story broke about the potential disenfranchisement of thousands of voters by the Democratic Party due to a botched process of sending out absentee applications. An unknown number of voters received custom absentee ballot applications, many with incorrect voter information, and many so late before Election Day that if they were to return the applications, they either would not be processed, or processed so late that voters might have difficulty returning the absentee ballots on time to be counted.
“In their desperation to lock-in every potential Democratic vote, and build their party lists, the Democrats have undermined the entire election process,” said Andrew Finko, an election law attorney who has handled numerous ballot challenges for Green candidates. “The absentee voting measure was passed in the name of voter access and empowerment, and instead the Democrats tried to use it to further consolidate power – and screwed it up. The Democratic Coordinated Campaign really shot themselves in the foot with this one.”
For Huckelberry, the voting machine and absentee ballot issues are related.
“The Democrats can’t be trusted with our votes,” said Huckelberry. “They can’t be trusted to do good work if we vote for them, and they can’t even be trusted to administer the election!”
“The Republicans pulled the same stunt with absentee ballots – they just didn’t botch it,” added Finko. “Of course, the Republicans have a much more proven track record of manipulating elections nationwide. If people want to see democratic processes respected and expanded, they should vote Green this year and send a message, otherwise, it’s more the same.”
The Green Party has long advocated for major election reforms like same-day voter registration, ranked choice voting to end the phenomenon “first-past-the-post” winners with minimal support (such as occurred with the Republican primary for Governor this year), mandated auditable paper trails for any electronic voting equipment, and more.
“We have solutions for these major election problems,” said Huckelberry. “The Democrats and Republicans have known about these solutions for years and they won’t enact them. The people need to stop voting for the people who make the problems worse, and vote for Green candidates who will get to work solving the problems.”