I was called on Election Day by a voter who said that judges in “the precinct on Kedzie” had been urging voters to vote for Rahm Emanuel. The caller said that there were no pollwatchers in that precinct. I referred the caller to both the Garcia campaign and the State’s Attorney’s office, and understand that an investigator was to be dispatched to find out what was happening.
There were reports in the February election that judges in certain precincts were telling voters that there were no write-in candidates when, in fact, there were two, Fuji Shioura and Peter Sifnotis. I don’t know yet if this precinct was involved in that episode as well.
The alderman, her husband, and one of their daughters visited every precinct on election day in February, asking about turnout and greeting voters, a clear violation of election law, as was the alderman’s visit, again accompanied by her husband, to the early voting site in Warren Park during the campaign. They left only after their presence was challenged by another candidate.
We’ll be voting in primary elections just about a year from now. It’s time for more citizens to consider becoming involved in the electoral process as election judges or poll watchers. Without honest people committed to fair elections on duty in every precinct on election day, we will continue to have incidents like these.
We cannot and should not allow this to become standard election behavior. The fact that all political power in the ward is held by one family–the Silversteins–should not mean that election laws don’t apply in the 50th Ward.