Absentee Voting

January 5, 2015

Defend the Vote is actively engaged in monitoring absentee voting processes in Illinois.  In 2015, we will re-evaluate absentee voting processes in Cook County and we will publish a series of articles to assist other groups across Illinois on monitoring absentee voting in their area.


Mail-in absentee voting is currently about 8% of the vote. If Quinn signs SB172, this will likely change.  In 2014 - He signed a bill that extended the time to apply for an absentee ballot from 45 to 90 days. This changes how applications are processed and stored.  In 2015 Defend the Vote will look at how  the various election authorities have adjusted their procedures.



Absentee Voting in Suburban Cook County and Chicago plays a significant role in local, state, and national elections. More and more people are electing to vote by absentee ballot. But is the vote secure? Defend the Vote investigators spent a month investigating the inner workings of how safe the vote is in these two locations. Lead investigator, Kurt Fujio writes his summary report. 
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On November 19th, 2012, Defend the Vote’s Sharon Meroni testified at the Illinois State Board of Elections board meeting. As part of her testimony, Sharon gave the Board members a letter outlining Defend the Vote’s findings from the recent November election; not all of it good, but she felt it was important to alert the election Board of the security oversights going on in their jurisdiction.

Read more: The Problems With Chicago

Editor Note: Breaking News: Suburban Cook County (about 1.4 million voters) allows staff working for County Clerk David Orr (D) and contractors from Sequoia (Dominion) unfettered access to absentee vote totals before Election Day.


In addition, both Cook County and Chicago violate Illinois law by counting absentee votes before 7pm on Election Day.

Read more: Voter Alert: Did You Vote Absentee in Suburban Cook County or Chicago?

“In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it's a sport.” Dick Gregory



Besides the two convictions, accusations of voting fraud have long plagued the South and West sides of Chicago.


One example in 2002 was a group of dozens of senior citizens who applied for absentee ballots, only to find out that the man who helped them apply had already cast their votes.


Calling the incident “pure Cook County,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported that when the seniors asked the man what he was doing in casting their ballots, they were told: “Don’t worry, you’re voting Democratic.”


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