Tuesday, November 2, 2004

DuPage County Voting Anomalies

This is my first election as a political official; every election prior to this has been as a more casual voter. While I’m no naif, I confess to being surprised by some of the shenanigans going on throughout my township (I’m the chair of the Naperville Democrats, we are a town of about 60,000 voters) today.

Just a few stories:

  • At one polling place, an election judge was promoting Christian Bookstores, who are apparently giving voters 20% off today if they wear their “I voted today” sticker.

  • At another, the Republican election judge was requiring all non-white voters to present identification prior to receiving a ballot; white voters were given a ballot without any need for ID.

  • A black woman who was a pollwatcher for us was verbally accosted by the Republican election judge: “You must be here because you don’t have a job.” (For the record: she took the day off to do her civic duty. Whatever.)

  • Yet another polling place, a Republican election judge was wearing his GOP pin on his shirt collar. (Any form of electioneering, including the wearing of partisan buttons, is strictly forbidden by law.) When he refused the pollwatcher’s polite request to remove it, the election judge called the pollwatcher an asshole. After repeating the request (backed up by a suggestion that he could be arrested), the judge relented. His daughter (with her own button on her collar) then started greeting voters at the door, another violation of the law.

These are the more egregious examples; there are countless more trivial issues that have cropped up today. We’re not even a battleground state; I can only imagine what Ohio, Florida and other states are like. Some context: DuPage County is considered one of the most Republican counties in the state, and the level of Democratic organization is unprecedented — consequently, at least some of the above is due not to malfeasance, but surprise on the part of election officials who’ve not dealt with an organized party in the past. Coupled with a relatively light amount of training that these individuals receive, and I think you can chalk most (not all, but most) of the stories to a simple lack of understanding. Still…

The good news? Not a single person I’ve spoken with today is in the least bit discouraged about voting. If anything, their resolve has stiffened, convinced more than ever that change is a-comin’.

Polls in Illinois close in just 150 minutes. Then the drinking starts.


  1. Rick, Should I be really proud that you have heard of no Democratic Party shenanigans, or a little embarrassed that you're only presenting a partisan viewpoint here?

    I see that ABC just called a victory for Barack. I'm pleased, but still disappointed that he never explained (or even broached) his tort reform policy.

  2. Neither proud, nor embarassed... though I'd love to hear from them, somehow I doubt if the Republicans would think to call me about what's going on. We'll see in tomorrow's papers whether the Dems are doing the same. For a variety of reasons, I doubt it. But we'll see.

    Re: Obama's tort reform issue - I tried to get you an answer; will keep plugging. Promise.

  3. Thanks, Rick. I know you have other priorities tonight, besides responding to my election eve skepticism.

    I do appreciate your attempts to get an answer on tort reform form B.O. I'm worried that he decided to be silent -- despite Keyes loudly raising the subject -- because he did not want to alienate the trial lawyers. That would smack too much like politics as usual.

    We shall all know a lot more in the morning -- and I hope we're both pleased. Maybe I can write another post using no "w's".

  4. Wow. You're whining? And presenting a limited view? In a state Kerry won?
    I'm a little surprised.

    No, really.


  5. Hey "Wow" -

    Not so worried about the results, and certainly not arguing that somehow John Kerry got the shaft. Worried about the individuals who were prevented from doing their duty, and disappointed in those who were ignorant of their role.

    In an overwhelmingly Republican county, just trying to ensure we have some balance.


  6. Ummm I have a few for you (will blog em later)

    -- Democratic Judge refuses to let Republican judge validate the signatures with voter roll.

    -- Democratic Judges (two) keep turning TV's on in polling place, third Democratic judge even tells them to turn them off.

    (And that's just one pct.)

  7. Keep 'em coming, OneMan... I'm genuinely interested in documenting this stuff (on both sides). The smoother the process, the better the results. Regardless of who wins.

  8. Rick,

    I've got one for you. I stopped in a poll and signed in as a pollwatcher, had my papers in order. The Republican Judge says..."Hey I know you, you are the guy running against K@$#*&%$&@#...you can't be in here. That is electioneering." Keep in mind, at that point he was the only one even mentioning that I was a candidate, let alone for what. Then he proceeded to lament about Dems trying to get elected in DuPage and told me to go back to Chicago. I then said I was allowed to come in, sit, and smile at people quietly if I like. I did for a few minutes, then left. What a jerk. He did not shut up about my race the whole damn time.