Farewell to Illinois's Election Integrity Pioneer, Jack Roeser
With great sorrow, I say good-bye to one of Illinois’s finest citizens. Jack (John Otto) Roeser returned to God early this morning. Born in 1923, Jack served in the Army, raced in the Chicago Mackinac, and built Otto Engineering, a successful state-of the art business located in Carpentersville, Illinois. With over 50 patents in his name, Jack never stopped improving our world. I knew Jack long after he had accomplished so many of these feats. As a devoted conservative who funded many political campaigns, Jack has been a guiding force for Republicans across Illinois for decades.
For me, personally, Jack was a mentor. He was truly the election integrity pioneer in Illinois. As the guiding force behind Defend the Vote, Jack is responsible for inspiring us to continue our fight to get an honest vote in Illinois. I was blessed to sit with Jack as we worked to secure the vote; particularly in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. When I was frustrated or confused, his wise counsel guided the way. Jack and I shared a commitment to set up “Best Practices” in elections for Illinois and to rid this state of corrupt elections and of the flawed electronic voting machines. Our mission has always been to correct deficient processes securing the vote rather than focusing only on catching fraud.
Jack’s support was not just in words. He made funding the important work of Defend the Vote one of his top priorities. It was Jack who funded and inspired the many audits that we have conducted on election systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County, and which have been so successful in making significant changes in the integrity of the vote in Illinois.
One day in 2012, Jack came to me about the theft of the vote from our most vulnerable residents, those living in nursing homes across Cook County. The mission he gave us was to change the practice of only one party overseeing the nursing home vote in Suburban Cook and Chicago. We succeeded. Today, nursing home patients have both a Republican and Democratic Judge of Election assuring their vote is accurately administered and counted. Jack cared about everyone, but especially those in need of protection.
Jack is the true pioneer of election integrity in Illinois. After the dust settles, I will find a way to assure that Defend the Vote is dedicated to his memory and most importantly to his values and goals. Now with God and his angels, I trust our beloved Jack is busy organizing them too, with both humor and precision.
Rest in peace, Jack. We thank you for your long service and for your leadership in fighting to achieve an honest vote in a state with a global reputation for election fraud.
Will Election Day Voter Registration Sneak into Illinois Law? Will Quinn Change Election Security Just for the 2014 Elections?
How can the vote be stolen? In our modern world, the iconic image of someone slipping extra ballots into the ballot box on Election Day seems outdated, yet that’s exactly what some Illinois politicians are trying to do for the November election.
On late Friday evening, May 30th, HB0105 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly out of the public’s discriminating eye; a common tactic for Illinois government over the last few years. The November election features businessman Bruce Rauner (R) going head to head with Governor Pat Quinn (D), who now has a bill on his desk that will make stealing the vote as easy as stealing candy from a baby.
House Bill 0105 attempts to impose Election Day voter registration on Illinois exclusively for 2014 without public debate. If signed by Governor Quinn, there will be no requirements for anyone to show photo or state issued ID if they register to vote on Election Day in November. The bill also extends early voting by one day and grace period voting through Election Day. Unbelievably, those who register to vote on Election Day can cast a ballot, which is counted at 7pm on Election Day, before anyone has had a chance to verify the new voter’s registration.
Filed under the Public University Act, HB0105 mandates that each public university[i] maintains an in-person absentee polling place where students can vote in-person absentee ballots on Election Day. HB0105 also requires every election jurisdiction to offer Election Day voter registration at a permanent polling place through Election Day. Anyone can register to vote with a fake lease, or any form of paperwork that has an address on it, and no one will know it’s fake until after the ballot has been cast and counted.
That’s right; Governor Quinn is contemplating signing a bill which allows Election Day voter registration without requiring any verification of ID provided at the moment of registration.
But HB0105 doesn’t stop there. One thing that has kept early voting secure is that voters are required to show photo ID before they can cast their ballot, but that won’t be true for the upcoming election if this bill is signed into law. “Except for during the 2014 general election, the applicant’s identity must be verified…” (10 ILCS 5/19A-35, B iv). Under HB0105, state-issued photo ID is no longer required for people who wish to cast an early voting ballot in the 2014 November election. Mickey Mouse could register to vote on Election Day and cast an early voting ballot, and it would be counted without anyone wondering what he’s doing outside of TV land.
There is some real confusion as to whether or not each early voting site will be morphed into a grace period voting location two days before the election based on the designation of the site as permanent, or not. There is also confusion as to whether or not the Bill requires grace period ballots cast on the day before the election and on Election Day to be cast as provisional ballots. Defend the Vote believes the law does not require the ballots to be provisionally cast; HB0105 only provides that they may be cast as provisional ballots.
This omni-bill changes how your vote is secured in Illinois, and most of the changes are for the upcoming governor’s election. Worse, most of the changes make the vote more susceptible to untraceable fraud. If Governor Quinn signs this bill into law, you can bet that Illinois will see one of its messiest voting seasons yet, and it won’t only be the dead who are rising to vote.
If you believe in having a clean election, make sure your voice is heard! Call Governor Quinn’s office in Springfield at 217-782-0244 and in Chicago at 312-814-2121. Tell him that you don’t approve of politicians who change the security of their vote for their own potential political gain.
[i] 5/1-12 The Public University Act is changed to permit in-person absentee voting on Election Day in at least one high traffic location at the following campuses:, University of Illinois at its campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Springfield, Southern Illinois University at its campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, and Western Illinois university at its campuses in Macomb and Moline.
This article presents the portions of HB0105 which address the security of the ballot in Illinois. This is a follow-up from Will Election Day Voter Registration Sneak into Illinois Law? This technical article separates each change by sections so the reader can easily review them. Before each section, I have written a short paragraph to put the change in context.
House Bill0105 was approved in the House and Senate of the General Assembly on May 30th, 2014. It is currently on Governor Quinn’s desk. If you want a clean and secure vote in November of 2014 and oppose Governor Quinn changing Illinois election law right before he tries to get re-elected, make sure your voice is heard! This Bill, if signed, is repealed on January 1st, 2015.
Can this be stopped? Illinois voters can help stop Election Day voter registration from being snuck into the election code by calling Governor Quinn’s office in Springfield at 217-782-0244 and in Chicago at 312-814-2121. Tell him that you don’t approve of politicians who change the security of your vote for their own potential political gain.
For this discussion, I excluded a couple of sections in the bill that are not directly related to issues of the security of the vote and have placed these changes in the notes at the end of this article. The changes that are included in the notes are: 9-9.5, 10-6, 10-10, 11-6,[i]
HB0105 alters the security of the vote in Illinois just for Quinn’s 2014 re-election bid by amending Sections: 1-12, 4-50, 5-50, 6-100, 10-8, 13-2.5, 14-4.5, 18A-5, 18A-15, 19-2, 19A-10, 19A-15, and 19A-35. The portion that has been changed are underlined and highlighted in yellow. These changes are as follows:
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.
To provide more clarity to these issues, I decided to do a three part series; one part for each area. These issues are important.
This first article will give 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.
What of these 1000 voters and related ballots with multiple votes on them? Has the ISBE looked into them to assure the voter was not committing fraud? Did the voter intentionally lie about their residence? Did anyone look?
The biggest battle is before us. Untold thousands of disenfranchised votes on the constitutional amendments in Illinois are what is left on the table, unresolved. Defend the Vote calls this "voter extortion" and if we understand Mr. Ken Menzel (Deputy Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections) correctly, he apparently agrees....
As it stands now, all out-of-precinct ballots register a “No” vote on all constitutional amendments in November. I have labeled this as “voter extortion.” To give an out-of-precinct voter the right to vote for federal and state offices, it compels them to vote “No” on all constitutional amendments on the ballot. All without warning the voter!
Our argument in the email explains that
Defend the Vote’ JCAR Comments allege that the partial counting of votes results in voter extortion. I simply cannot back down on this, regardless to whether or not the voter is informed or aware, or whether this is a conscious act on any one’s part. Substantively, the lack of consent makes the fault even graver. Consequently, intent is not the ruling concern. The effect of these rules is that by counting a single vote, the voter not only forsakes other votes (which may or may not be on the in-precinct ballot) but they must also vote no on all constitutional amendments; this even though the amendment is on their ballot and regardless to how they personally mark their choice on this ballot.
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.
Illinois does not suffer from a problem of voter suppression. We suffer under a thousand pages of contradictory election law; laws written under Madigan's leadership which all too often provide insufficient security protections over the vote.
I have not had time to really think through the many implications of the proposed constitutional amendment. It could provide a duty to election officials in Illinois to provide a ballot in minor dialects of languages. Imagine the burden, and to misstep is a violation of the voter's Constitutional right!
The problem in Illinois elections is not voter suppression...
When proposed by legislators, a constitutional amendment needs a super majority of both bodies of the General Assembly. Constitutional amendments are only successful if voters vote "yes" by a 60% super majority vote of all those voting on the question or a majority of voters casting a ballot for any office in that election. The proposed provisional voting rules would also force out-of-precinct Illinois voters to vote "No" on the amendment.
Legislatures should focus on the security of the vote. When votes are stolen, it violates the civil rights of all voters. Here's a thought; add the right to an honest election to the amendment!
We will write more on this in the coming days. We have posted the amendment below.
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.
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).
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? The short answer is yes, and there are few if any safety measures to prevent or detect this kind of theft.
Here is just one flaw in the system. During every election, Defend the Vote is contacted by voters who report they were prevented from voting or had to vote on a provisional ballot because the poll book showed someone had already voted for them. As part of our goals for 2014, we have decided to research how frequently this occurs.
When we start an investigation, we look at many aspects of the problem to gain the needed information. Most importantly of all, we ask questions.
For example, does the State of Illinois or any of the 110 election jurisdiction keep track of voters who claim that someone voted for them? This can be a difficult question to answer because unless otherwise dictated by federal or state laws, each election jurisdictions sets their own policy; but we have come to suspect that no one keeps track of this type of voter fraud.