Illinois Election Security Report
“We are changing the perception of Illinois having the most crooked voting system
while working to develop “Best Practices” for election security in Illinois.” Jack Roeser
Early Vote: In 2010, Jack Roeser contributed to a program that trained and deployed lawyers and pollwatchers in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. This program deployed pollwatchers to monitor all 50 of Chicago’s early voting sites. As a result of evidence uncovered, Chicago made significant changes to how early voting is conducted (see #6). Much work remains to be done.
Election Security: In 2011, investigations penetrated deep into Chicago elections, uncovering sufficient evidence to prove sloppy (at best) administration of elections.
Non-Citizens Running Elections: In 2011, investigations proved early voting sites in Chicago were being operated by non-citizens. Subsequent follow up FOIA investigations proved that the employment I-9 records for 75% of the employees running Chicago early voting were not compliant with federal law.
Early Voting Audit: In 2011, investigations proved Illinois does not audit early voting returns. Our investigations inspired a July 4th 2011 change in Illinois law: in 2012, for the first time ever, election jurisdictions are required to include early voting machines in the public post election 5% audit.
Election Day Audit: In April 2011, we conducted an audit of the security practices of Chicago’s polling places. We uncovered that out of the 239 precincts scored, the ballot box was unsealed 139 times. In October 2011, the report detailing this audit was peer reviewed and published in Argonne National Laboratory’s Journal of Physical Security.
Inspired Changes: In February 2012, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners announced significant changes in election procedures; incorporating suggestions from the April 2011 audit report.
* All early voting facilities in Chicago now have a Republican and Democrat election judge present. For the first time, Republicans select their judges.
*New Policy: All employees operating early voting facilities will be registered voters.
* Implementation of new employment verification procedures and re-vamping I-9 procedures.
* In April, 2012, I-9’s went from 75% non-compliant to 99% compliant.
* Changed storage, transit, and in-precinct procedures to include new bar code technology with locks and seals to track and secure election equipment.
Implemented new seal procedures and improved election judges’ training guides to instruct judges on proper seal usage.
Registered Voters: In 2011, investigations proved 16 counties have more registered voters than eligible voters. Today, two counties have over 100% registration of voters. Investigators continue to monitor voter registration rolls and compare them to voter records. A report will be published following the November elections.
Photo Voter ID: In 2012, we supported testimony in favor of Photo Voter ID in the Illinois House. More to come in 2013.
Election Board Testimony: Testifying and appearing multiple times before the Chicago Board of Elections and the Illinois State Board of Elections have resulted in successfully advancing change in election procedures in Illinois for 2012.
Statewide Election Security Assessment: In March 2012, initiated a pilot program to assess elections across all of Illinois. Pollwatchers and election judges score their precinct on security measures. This program is unique because each scoring sheet is individualized for the various 110 election jurisdictions in Illinois.
Voter Assessment: Piloted a program that asked voters to assess their voting experience in Illinois. We began this program in March of 2012, and it will continue for the November election.
Unlawful Elections in Cook County: Discovered and proved that Suburban Cook County’s training procedures do not legally seal the ballots, keep custody of the election equipment, nor open ballot boxes to the public on Election Day as required by Illinois law.
Twice Published: We were first published in the October 2011 edition of Argonne National Laboratory’s Journal of Physical Security. In September 2012, a follow up report was peer reviewed and in pre-press status to be published in the upcoming issue of the same journal; it is titled Election Security: Don’t Start with Fraud Investigations, Start with Security Investigations.
Critical Projects for 2012 and Beyond
Vulnerability Assessment of Elections in Illinois: Agreement has been reached with Argonne National Laboratory to perform a vulnerability assessment on Chicago’s and Suburban Cook County‘s election security. As funding becomes available, additional Illinois election jurisdictions will be included in these assessments. The security vulnerability assessment begins the first week of September and lasts about three weeks.
Absentee Voting Project – Project to position a team of pollwatchers through every stage of absentee voting in Chicago and Cook County. This program includes an investigation of military and detainee voting. This project begins September 24th.
Nursing Home Judge Project – Review of election judge assignments to cover.
Voter Education: Through radio shows, videos, newsletters, and the information posted on the Web.
Electronic Voting - Ongoing Assessment: Investigating electronic voting in Illinois, with the objective of increasing security or eliminating it all together. This project is long-term and involves investigations from a variety of approaches.