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'Malicious' Robocalls To Election Judges Foul Up Early Morning Voting

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 4, 2014 9:45PM

Photo credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

It wouldn’t be Election Day in Chicago if there weren’t reports of polling place problems, confused or indifferent election judges and attempts at electioneering. The most serious issue so far has been a shortage of election judges across the city.

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chairman Langdon Neal said his office had to send out 250 standby judges because at least one precinct in every ward had an election judge not show up Tuesday. Some polling places only had one judge, others none at all. Neal blamed the shortage on a series of “malicious” robocalls to election judges last weekend. One call falsely informed judges they had to report for a three-hour training session or could not serve on Election Day. Another robocall demanded judges vote a certain way in order to serve.

“We got off to a very bumpy start. We had a lot of precincts that … did not have a full complement of judges, and in some occasions we had to get standby judges out to even open the polls. So it was a significant impact,” Neal said.

The Election Board is investigating the matter. Other issues at polling places have included missing pages and inoperable voting machines. If you had problems voting this morning because your polling place was not open or understaffed, call your ward office to see if your precinct is open late to give registered voters a chance to cast a ballot.

The bright side to this attempt at electioneering is early voting numbers were up. Cook County Clerk David Orr said early voting was up 53 percent for the general election over 2010.