Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Whereas this blog tries to steer clear of politics, many of my clients and friends have been asking me about this issue. So Rogers Park Dog will make every attempt to keep you informed of the latest news regarding the recent 49th ward run off ROGERS PARK RESIDENTS CHARGE FLAGRANT VOTE FRAUD IN 49TH WARD ALDERMANIC ELECTION Voting Rights Hijacked In Aldermanic Election: Votes Cast for the Elderly, Voters Registered At Abandoned Buildings, And Repeat Voters CHICAGO, April 24, 2007 – “Vote fraud has taken away the voice of our community and it hurts us all,” a group of 49th Ward residents said today as they announced a lawsuit to contest the results of last week’s aldermanic election. “As citizens we have a right to fair and clean elections. The violations that happened last week profoundly impact every one of us. We are outraged by the dirty tricks and illegal campaign tactics that occurred in many polling places in our ward,” said community activist Eva McCann. McCann is a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with community residents Blane Roberts, Eileen Foxman, and 49th Ward Aldermanic Candidate Don Gordon. A lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court by the group on Monday cited numerous examples of vote fraud in the Tuesday, April 17, runoff election. They include elderly nursing home residents who were illegally assisted in voting, voters whose home addresses turned out to be vacant buildings, and voters who were issued two ballots instead of one. The group announced their lawsuit at 7724 N. Ashland Ave., an abandoned apartment building where a person identified as Delores Young claimed to be registered and was allowed to cast a ballot on April 17. “We have confirmed multiple cases of votes cast by people whose addresses turned out to be vacant buildings and by people from outside the ward. We have an obligation to uphold the voting rights of the citizens of Chicago whose honest ballots were potentially negated by fraud,” said McCann. She noted that voters’ rights to a fair election were also “hijacked” when polling place election judges in numerous precincts denied requests to verify questionable voters and “systematically ignored” election laws. Gordon, a 30-year community resident, said, “The mood in our ward has changed from concern over the outcome of the election to a more fundamental concern about getting a fair election in the first place. As a candidate, I didn’t sign up to lead a battle against violations of basic voting rights. But as a voter I will stand up for this.” He added: “Although an investigation will determine more facts about this election, we already know there is no doubt that its integrity is in question. I want to make sure that every voice is heard.” According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Moore received 4,019 votes to Gordon’s 3,772, a 247-vote difference. Co-plaintiff Roberts stated: “We have heard outrageous claims that our call to investigate vote fraud is racially motivated. That is simply not the case. Instead, the election has made us more aware than ever before of how race and class have been used to divide our community and keep us from focusing on real community issues.” The plaintiffs called on Alderman Moore, government officials, and Chicago’s civil rights leaders to support the lawsuit and join in the call for an investigation. “We expect people in public office to take a stand and help guarantee fair and clean elections. This is of far greater importance than a simple aldermanic election, and we call on everyone involved to join us in the investigation so that we can preserve basic voting rights for the future of all of Chicago,” Roberts said. “We would not be here were this a simple matter of election error,” said McCann. “We have considerable evidence that points to a pattern of conspiracy, and more evidence will be presented as we move forward with this investigation.” The residents, represented by Attorney Michael Lavelle, a former chairman of the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, are contesting the 49th Ward election results and seek an investigation into allegations of vote fraud violations and conspiracy to commit vote fraud. Gordon volunteer photographs Joe Moore greeting a senior citizen while she is voting. SUMMARY OF 49th WARD ELECTION LAWSUIT CHARGES 1. Elderly nursing home residents who were “assisted” in voting without formally agreeing to be assisted as required by law (in Lake Shore and Sherwin Manor nursing homes) 2. Polling place judges who refused to obey Chicago Board of Elections guidelines requiring that questionable voters be given provisional ballots (in Precincts #11, 34, and more) 3. Votes cast by people registered to vote at vacant buildings and vacant lots Illegal campaign signs posted beyond the blue cones on election day. 4. Polling place electioneering (at Arbour Health Care Center, 1512 W. Fargo Ave.) 5. Precincts where more votes were cast than there were voter applications (in Precinct #11 and others) 6. Precincts where voters were given two paper ballots instead of one (in Precinct #5) 7. Voters who cast ballots during the Early Voting period and again on the April 17 Election Day. Blog Master Notes: Allegations do not include the allegation of mail fraud. The above pink postcards were mass mailed less than a week before the election. The return address was the address of community activist and Gordon supporter Toni Duncan. The implication of the cards was that a vote for Gordon was a vote for increased property values north of Howard. Post cards were primarily sent to registered african american voters. Nor do current allegations address the numerous counts of electioneering fraud witnessed and reported during the February 27th election. Allegations that Lisa Madigan and the Board of Elections have failed to investigate.