Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Former Republican Committeemen Claim Election Judges Coerced Into Voting GOP

November 5, 2014
Pam Zekman, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter

A day after the election, officials are still counting ballots and the investigation into who made robocalls that allegedly persuaded many judges not to show up Tuesday is heating up.

Two former Republican committeemen are telling 2 Investigator Pam Zekman they were removed because they objected to those tactics.

Judges of election are appointed by their respective parties and they look at a judge’s primary voting records as part of the vetting process. But in these cases the former committeemen we talked to said that vetting crossed a line when judges were told who they had to vote for in the Tuesdays’ election.


“If you don’t vote Republican you will not be an Republican judge, which pays $170,” she said.

The Board of Elections is now investigating whether calls to judges assigned citywide resulted in a shortage that infuriated the mayor.

“What happened with the robocalls was intentional. As far as we can tell somebody got a list, a list with names and numbers, called them, not to educate, not to promote the democratic process, but to sew confusion,” Emanuel said.



That was the official closing time for all polling locations, but several places got off to a rough start. Polling locations for six precincts opened late, and stayed open until 8 p.m. to make up for the late start.


"One of the judges came out and said there are only two of them. Three of them did not show up. And then the one lady inside had a meltdown," Edward Sung said.


A number of city election judges received "intimidating" phone calls over the weekend that led some of them to quit the post, according to officials at the Chicago Board of Elections. More than 2,000 judges didn't show up on Tuesday, Jim Allen said.

"Sometimes all it takes is a call like that to convince them not to show up," Langdon Neal, Chicago Board of Elections chairman, said.

Neal said dozens of party-affiliated judges who help oversee polling places received calls instructing them to attend additional training sessions. The callers also told them to only vote for the party for which they serve as judges.

"We faced a problem with a malicious attempt yesterday, reaching out to our judges telling them (that) unless they served another three hour session at the training facility they could not serve today. Many of our judges resigned immediately," Neal said.

Neal says city officials sent an email to approximately 6,000 judges Sunday urging them to ignore the calls. He says judges who have already undergone training do not have to take part in more training. He emphasized that their votes are secret.

Allen said the calls came from one party, but that information would not be released on Election Day. Officials are seeking an investigation. [we now know it was Republicans that did this]


What are Judges of Election?

Judges of election are the officials who are responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place. The judges of election are the backbone of the electoral process. Their jobs are challenging, interesting and personally rewarding.

In each precinct, the judges share in responsibilities, duties and authorities that include:

(1) Opening the polling place and setting up voting equipment at 5 a.m. on Election Day;
(2) Conducting a fair, impartial and secure election in the precinct polling place, allowing voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(3) Tabulating the vote totals for the precinct and transmitting the results to Election Central after the polls close at 7 p.m.

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