Here in Chicago (at 521 N. McClurg Court) where I had to vote today, I noticed two things:
- 1. The line was huge. In the past, I have never had to wait. There has never been a line. Now, the wait was a least forty five minutes.
2. The two books containing voter registration and voter signatures were considerably smaller than before. In the past, the voter books were about five inches thick, and now they were about 1/4 of their usual size.
I was not in the books. I've voted in every election in my district since moving there in 2000. I recently moved but hadn't changed my voter registration (as advised by the County election board) since the move was outside of the timeframe to change voting districts.
I have two forms of ID - a driver's license and a Firearm Owner ID. I also have a faculty ID for the UofC and a corporate ID from where I work. I had my Voter Registration Card. I also had a paycheck with my address on it.
There were many people who were also not in the voter books. The guy next to me was screaming about "Fraud!". There were four ladies who were crying. Another guy was yelling about his rights. The election judges were freaking out.
The election judges (certainly inept and under-prepared for the onslaught) didn't have any provisional ballots.
They turned everyone (that was not in the books) away.
As I left on my way to the County Election Commission to file a complaint, I asked ten different people who were also denied a vote because they weren't in the book, "Are you Republicans?"
All ten replied, "Yes."
"Did you vote in the primary?"
It's impossible to know if the Republicans were removed from the book. But this is Chicago...where the dead count more than the living.
I'll let you know what happens in a few hours. I'm calling my friend who's an editor for the Tribune and another who's an Assistant State's Attorney.
Update 3:30PM CST: Visited the Cook County Board of Elections. There were about fifty people complaining about the same thing. I received the following information:
1. There were hundreds of complaints from the 42nd Ward (my ward), but more from all over the county. Think about that - how many people do you think that were not allowed to vote that did not complain about disenfranchisement.
2. Provisional Ballots were sent to all precincts. More were recently sent to the 42nd Ward locations.
3. I was instructed to go back to my precinct and vote by provisional ballot.
4. After I asked about ten times (all the while sympathizing with the person about how hard her job must be today), I was told that there was a foul up in the County and there could be thousands and thousands of problems in Cook County Precincts.
So, I schlepped back to my precinct, waited another hour in line, had to talk to the same Mensa Candidates about my voter registration (I had my voter card, for pete's sake!) - the best part was when the judge asked me if anyone in the voting area could vouch for my residency and about twenty people shouted at him that they knew me and to give me a damn ballot. FINALLY, after about three and a half hours since first attempting to vote, I was able to vote by provisional ballot.
There were about ten people around me that also had to endure the same crap to vote by provisional ballot - all claimed to be registered voters and residents. One was the Condo Association President of the very building that we were in, yet the judge wanted more proof.
In case you were wondering, it was worth it.