CHICAGO, October 27, 2014 — As news circulated last week about an Illinois voting machine “calibration error” changing Republican votes to Democrat ones, a new report questions the integrity of thousands of GOP voting records in Chicago and whether or not they, too, have been compromised.
Early voting kicked off in scandal-ridden Cook County last week when Jim Moynihan, a Republican candidate for state representative, tried to vote for himself and found his vote had been cast for his opponent.
“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”
Officials say the machine was suffering from a “calibration error” and has now been taken out of service.
But longtime Republican activist William J. Kelly says that there may actually be thousands of GOP voting records at-risk in Illinois.
Kelly, who has been savaged by the Chicago media for donating $100,000 to his mayoral campaign to unseat Rahm Emanuel, has been in a two-year fight with the Chicago Board of Elections over his voting record.
It all started in February of 2012 when Kelly discovered that his Illinois voting record listed as “nearly all Ds for Democrat,” he said. He went back and forth with the board over the errors and finally submitted a sworn affidavit to set the record straight.
“With this voting record, I might as well have been branded an axe-murderer,” Kelly, a longtime taxpayer watchdog, says of the error-ridden voting record.
According to the affidavit filed with the Chicago Board of Elections, Kelly testified that his voter history contains “obvious and unequivocal factual errors. I have always requested a Republican primary ballot and voted in all the Republican primaries, supporting members of my party,” stated Kelly in the affidavit.
After complaining about it in the media, Kelly’s attorney Andrew Finko received a call from the Chicago Board of Elections stating that the computer record would be updated. There was no other explanation given of what happened. Kelly says he was surprised by the Board’s response.
Kelly contacted Joan Agnew, an attorney with the Chicago Board of Elections, and requested a formal review into why his record was inaccurate in the first place. He also submitted a FOIA request to secure the hard ballots from his votes in previous primary elections. However, he was informed the Chicago Board of Elections actually destroys the hard ballots.
After looking into the matter, Agnew explains there are many reasons why Kelly’s voting record contained errors and suggested it was because his Irish surname is so common and that there was confusion because his father’s name was also ‘William Kelly.’
But Finko says fraud cannot be ruled out.
According to Finko, elections judges have told him, “When voters pull Republican ballots election judges leave them blank and then are coded Democrat later in the process to make the judges and precinct captains ‘look better.’”
Under that scenario, thousands of Republican voting records could be tampered with at the whim of Chicago election judges.
Kelly offered this advice on Twitter to Republican voters in Illinois: “FOIA your voting record. Strike that – FOIA it twice,” Kelly tweeted. “It’s Chicago, you just never know.”
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