On the verge of voters being able to register to vote on Election Day without photo ID, the largest voting district in the state of Illinois has been operating illegally for nearly 7 months.
Illinois election code requires two party representation among the three members appointed to all Boards of Election Commission. In Chicago, 2 Democrats and 1 Republican should be appointed for the Board to be legally authorized. The law does not authorize any other size for the Board, nor does it permit only one party to oversee the administration of the vote.
Background: On April 19th 2015 the Republican Commissioner, Richard Cowen, passed away. That was 206 days ago. Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans is compelled by Illinois law to appoint a replacement within 60 days, yet the position remains vacant 206 days later.
Nothing in Illinois law permits a Board of Elections with only 2 members to operate. Nothing in Illinois law permits only one political party to oversee the vote, but Chief Judge Tim Evans and the Chicago Board of Elections have not been in a hurry to appoint a new Republican Commissioner; yet they have been very eager to hold meetings with only one political party on the Board.
In the past 206 days, the Chicago Board of Elections has held 9 meetings without bipartisan representation. Election law allows 60 days for the Board to find a new Commissioner, but it does not authorize them to meet without the full three members appointed.
Chicago is the largest voting authority in Illinois. That’s a lot of voters who are not being represented by a board that wields power over one of our most valuable rights, the right to vote. This is a huge problem, especially in a city that has a national and international reputation for voter fraud.
Without the full board seated, the Chicago Board of Election Commission is no longer a legally authorized board, so why has it continued to meet with only one political party on the Board for 206 days? Who is overseeing the implementation of the new law permitting Election Day voter registration without photo ID? Defend the Vote is the only organization that’s demanding answers. We believe all business conducted during the past 7 months by the Chicago Board of Election Commission should be found null and void because the Board is not a legal entity. We are not naive to believe we will accomplish this, but we will push for it as part of our efforts to get bi-partisan oversight over the vote in Chicago.
The next board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. Will the Chicago Board of Elections choose to follow the law, or will they illegally meet again?