I apologize if my last article was over complicated or confusing. Communicating details about election security can be challenging – the balance between detail and overview not always easy to juggle. This article (Illinois Law Disenfranchises Thousands of Votes) was based around the email from Ken Menzel, Deputy General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Election (ISBE), and had three vital issues wrapped into one article: The radical revision of the Provisional Voting JCAR Rules following Defend the Votes comments; the counting of 500-1000 out-of-precinct Provisional ballots from the March 2014 Primary Election where the voter stated on a voter affidavit that he resides in the precinct but does not; and the issue of the forced “No” vote on constitutional amendments on all out-of-precinct ballots in the upcoming November elections.
This article provides a quick synopsis of the critical change to the proposed provisional voting rules after Defend the Vote took a stand on the issue and as described by Deputy General Counsel, Ken Menzel. This is only a partial analysis because we do not have the new version yet; just an email describing the changes. Thankfully, we did win a significant victory!
Legally, provisional voting is restricted to voters who’s right to cast a ballot is questioned and who are seeking to vote in their residential precinct on Election Day. After the election judge confirms the voter’s address is in the precinct, the voter must sign an affidavit attesting he resided at the residence for the past 30 days. Then the election judge is authorized to give a PV ballot to the voter.
At the April Board meeting, Defend the Vote’s Executive Director, Sharon Meroni, was re-elected to the WTTW’s Community Advisory Board. (CAB) First elected to the Board in April 2013, Ms. Meroni’s new term is for 3 years. In addition, Sharon Meroni was elected Chairman of the “Outreach Committee”. The Outreach Committee is a standing CAB committee responsible for encouraging and gathering feedback from the WTTW viewing community and forwarding that feedback to WTTW. In the Outreach Committee, Ms. Meroni anticipates the committee will reach out to the viewing community utilizing social media and other emerging technologies.
WTTW (PBS Chicago) is Channel 11, Chicago area’s popular public broadcasting channel. With a long history of successful programming, WTTW/WFMT remains ‘committed to creating and presenting unique content for television, radio, and digital media.’
Sharon Meroni, as Executive Director of Defend the Vote, feels that public programming is key to a healthy community. Stating, "WTTW/WFMT reaches into every precinct in Chicago and the surrounding areas. The Community Advisory Board is a diverse board which is genuinely enthused to reach out to the WTTW viewing communities to help assure WTTW programming continues to meet their needs and when appropriate, to tell their stories. I am appreciative for this opportunity to help direct this outreach as Chairman of the Outreach Committee and as a member of the Community Advisory Board."
Defend the Vote filed comments to the proposed provisional voting rules currently going through the legislative process for confirmation from JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules). This process requires the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) to respond to Defend the Vote's comments. Then, they post revised rules, and we have one last response period. We are about to enter that 2nd period; it begins when the Board posts their revised rules. Deputy Counsel Ken Menzel noted in his email (see below) that the Board is ready to post these revised rules.
In the first round, our comments appear to have been successful in achieving their intended result. We argued that the proposed rules allowed for voters to falsely affirm in voter affidavits that they resided within the precinct when they do not. In fact about a 1000 ballots were counted in the March Primary where the voter falsely affirmed that they were residents in the precinct. These ballots were accepted despite the obvious conflict of fact.
After our comments, the Board has reduced the provisional voting process to require the voter to ‘believe they are in the correct precinct.’ The earlier version - which was in effect for the Primary - permitted voters to insist on their right to vote, and changed the meaning of provisional voting from being restricted to in-precinct voters, to allowing anyone to vote a provisional ballot within their county and municipality.
At the last ISBE Board meeting, Defend the Vote challenged the ISBE to identify if the 1000 affidavits taken by the out-of-precinct voters were fraudulently authenticated. These affidavits affirm that the voter lives in the precinct, so we effectively argued 'how could they get an out-of-precinct ballot?' The ISBE admitted they do not keep any records of out-of-precinct provisional voting, so we FOIA'd all the Illinois election jurisdictions and are now building that list.
Chicago Board of Elections meeting April 8th, 2014: This video proves that we are correct in many of our "comments to the ISBE rules" which we recently submitted to the ISBE. Tomorrow, we will be at the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Elections) Board meeting to follow-up on these rules.
A key point here is that the legislature will be tweaking the law to address flaws that our work uncovered. This is not necessarily good news.
The issue is out-of-precinct ballots and the affidavit the provisional voter must make. Defend the Vote maintains counting out-pf precinct ballots that have a false affidavit verifying the voter lives in the precinct is problematic and likely unlawful. General Counsel Scanlon says the State's Attorney would likely not investigate...
Stay tuned. We have much more to say about this. The summary report linked below provides a good summary of the issues.
We located the text to the House Bill HJRCA52, the so called voter suppression amendment pushed by House Speaker Madigan. Madigan's Bill passed the Illinois House on Tuesday with a bi-partisan vote of 109-5. It now moves to the Senate. Speaker Madigan apparently believes that people in certain classes could be denied the right to vote under his decades of leadership as the House Speaker.
Speaker Madigan states: “The intent of this constitutional amendment is to provide in Illinois, constitutionally, that voter-suppression laws would not be permitted,” said Madigan, D-Chicago. “Some might say, ‘Well, today in Illinois, you don’t need this. Voter suppression wouldn’t happen in Illinois.’
“We don’t know that,” Madigan continued. “We don’t know what the future holds. What we do know is we can constitutionalize the protection of the right to vote.”
The reality is, the right to vote is already protected.
Last July the Illinois General Assembly passed HB2418. This bill added a couple of sentences to the Provisional Voting Law (ILCS 10/5 18A) that is worded to permit the counting of votes for federal and state candidates which are cast provisionally as ‘out-of-precinct’ ballots. Rule 218 is the set of rules written by the Illinois State Board of Elections to implement these changes. Provisional voting has always been restricted to residents voting within the precinct in which they reside.
Why this new rule was tossed into HB 2418 permitting people to vote outside of their resident precinct remains unexplained. The impact of it, Defend the Vote warned voters in Illinois about this in the article "It's Kinda of a Disaster Waiting To Happen". Our analysis, however was just completed on Monday, March 31st. We delved deeply into every aspect of the Law (18A – Provisional Voting) and the JCAR 218 Proposed Rules written by the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) in order to submit comments to JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) and the ISBE.
Provisional Voting in Illinois
Comments to Part 218 – Counting of Provisional Ballots
This analysis is written to provide public comment on the proposed rules in Part 218 (Counting of Provisional Voting) found in Title 26 Chapter I: State Board of Elections. These proposed rules are known as JCAR 260218-1404328r01. The proposed JCAR rules were written by the Illinois State Board of Election. They are currently under Emergency Authorization by action of JCAR on March 19th, 2014. The Illinois State Board claims these rules are authorized by the passage of HB 2418 in July of 2013 and can be found in 10 ILCS 5/18A-15(b)(1).
March 19, 2014
Provisional Voting – Comments for the March 19th JCAR
This filing relates to the Emergency Rules which were implemented for the March 18th Primary election in Illinois. Due to the timing, this is a cursory review. The JCAR meeting is at 10am March 19th, on the morning after the election. A more complete review will be forthcoming shortly.
These are the notes from the 4 County Assessment conducted in Cook, Lake, Kane, and McHenry counties to test the new provisional voting rules.
The notes are uploaded on Scrib and can be read by clicking on the READ MORE.
This video was made by Argonne National Laboratory to demonstrate just how fragile the seals protecting the voting machine’s memory devices are. This red seal is called a ‘tamper resistant seal.' Tamper resistant seals should (but frequently do not) show when they are disturbed. 'Tamper evident' seals do show if they were disturbed. Defend the Vote is asking Chicago, Suburban Cook County, and election jurisdictions across the state, to replace these vulnerable red seals for “tamper evident” seals.
Defend the Vote has publicized the fact that the Dominion/Sequoia voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have never passed the error testing requirements set out by the 2003 Voting Systems Standards as required by Illinois Law, and that there are HAVA compliance issues with these machines. (Yes, it’s sad but true; machines used nationally to count millions of votes were never federally certified.) We have challenged the validity of the current Illinois State Board of Election’s certification of these machines, and assert these machines cannot be recertified in Illinois before the November 2014 Governor’s elections. We alerted various authorities of these deficiencies and made sure to let budget departments so they can prepare to fund new equipment this Spring.
Defend the Vote raised the question of the Edge2Plus’s and the related WinEDS voting system’s certification with Howard Crammer, a VP from Dominion. To date, he has failed to produce any official document proving that the voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have been certified by the EAC as passing Federal error testing requirements. The EAC is the government body that does this certification.
Judges of Election – Just how important are they to the security of your vote? For in-precinct voting, which is done on Election Day, probably the most important security measure for the overall integrity of the vote, is to have a strong bi-partisan Judge of Election team. In Illinois, election judges are assigned by the two dominant political parties based on pre-set legal formulas in a 2:3 ratio. When the political party fails to select the election judge, the election jurisdiction can (must) do so.
The way these positions are staffed in Illinois is to have the Party Chairman of each County approve the election judges. Generally the Committeemen in each precinct, township, or ward appoints the election judges. State-wide, the process to select election judges does vary somewhat depending on if it is a city or county based election jurisdiction. (i.e., Chicago is city-based, Suburban Cook is county-based)
The Republican or Democrat Party Chair also has a duty to build a "Supplemental Chairman's List" which contains extra election judges to fill in at the last minute. The election jurisdictions have a legal duty to go to these lists first when there are vacancies.
- Can Anyone Get a Fraudulent Ballot in Illinois?
- Illegal and Uncertified Voting Systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County
- Election Machines in Chicago and Cook County Not Legally Certified - Round 3
- Explosive Letter Detailing the Illegal Use of Voting Systems in Illinois
- Illegal Voting Systems In Illinois? ISBE Attempts To Defuse Truth
- Uncertified & Illegal! Election Board Letter Proves Cook County Election Equipment Used for the 2012 Presidential Election is Not Legal!
- The Nightmare of Provisional Voting in Illinois
- What is a Vulnerability Assessment?
- Chicago Board of Elections is Live
- Is the Voting System In Chicago and Cook County Legal in Illinois?
- "It’s kind of a disaster waiting to happen" State Board's Legal Counsel on Provisional Voting in Illinois
- Are There Stone Walls In Election Security?
- Voter Signatures in Chicago: Will Election Judges get too Empowered with Fraud Detection Training?
- Stopping Election Fraud - Are The Seals That Protect your Vote Secure?
- How are the Seals Protecting Your Vote Secured?
- Argonne National Labs: Election Security of the Chicago Board of Elections & Suburban Cook County Elections
- Is Texas Innocent Until Proven Guilty?
- What Motivates Individuals Committing Voter Fraud?
- Does Requiring Photo Voter ID Restrict the Vote?
- Friends of WTTW