If voters in Cicero have a hard time distinguishing between Larry Dominick, the candidate, and Larry Dominick, the incumbent town president, it’s probably because Dominick himself doesn’t seem to know the difference.
Town spokesman Ray Hanania confirmed last week that uniformed community service officers driving official town vehicles have gone door to door, questioning residents about whether they had applied for mail-in ballots for Tuesday’s municipal primary election.
Dominick’s opponent, former McPier executive Juan Ochoa, has encouraged voters to use the ballots, widely available since 2010. Ochoa’s campaign says the Cicero officers were dispatched to suppress those (mostly Latino) votes.
In a letter to the town attorney, Cook County Clerk David Orr said the visits “could easilybe construed as an attempt at voter intimidation.” […]
In a separate letter to Dominick on Tuesday, the clerk noted complaints about electioneering at early voting sites, including the Cicero Community Center, where a large banner reads “Cicero Town President Larry Dominick Welcomes You.” Two other signs flank the stage.
“Since you are on the ballot, it is inappropriate for these signs to be on display with voting nearby,” Orr said in a letter to Dominick on Tuesday. “Please take down the signs immediately.”
Tuesday morning, a lot of Cicero will be getting a lot of extra attention.
Not just by voters electing their town president, but by investigators with several departments, including the Cook County sheriff, and the county clerk.
In Cicero, current President Larry Dominick is in a bitter fight against contender Juan Ochoa. […]
To ensure no fraud occurs, the state’s attorney will provide manpower, as will the sheriff’s office. The county clerk will pony up 11 election attorneys, when two would be typical.
“I just want it to be prepared,” Clerk David Orr says. “I just hope things are smooth and people behave themselves.”
* Which leads us to this press release from Sen. Marty Sandoval…
Sandoval Calls for Orr’s Recusal from Cicero Elections
Cicero, Illinois – State Senator Martin Sandoval, joined by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, today called on Cook County Clerk David Orr to immediately recuse himself from the Cicero elections charging that Orr has openly taken a partisan political position in an election in which he is supposed to be objective and non-partisan.
Sandoval said he sent a letter urging Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the chief law enforcement officer on election day, to order David Orr to immediately recuse himself for conflict of interest due to his political bias in the Cicero elections due.
Sandoval charged that Orr has played a political and partisan role in the municipal elections in the Town of Cicero, aiding and supporting his political allies, candidate Juan Ochoa and his endorsed cohorts including Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. Sandoval charged that Orr has donated thousands of dollars to candidates actively involved in the Ochoa campaign, which creates a direct conflict of interest. Additional instances of bias include David Orr’s physical appearance at rallies with Ochoa and his supporters (which included convicted felon and former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese).
Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections, and will be filling legislation to eliminate the elected office of Cook County Clerk, making it a separate, non-partisan agency similar to the Chicago Board of Elections.
“David Orr’s conduct and conflict of interest has tainted this election in Cicero. David Orr is politically partisan and has and continues to use public resources to support his political allies to work against those he opposes,” Sandoval said. […]
Sandoval said that Orr has in the past donated directly to many of the people supporting Ochoa in his battle against incumbent Town President Larry Dominick. Orr’s office employed Alderman Munoz’s spouse in the past, and his decade’s long relationship with Ochoa supporters, County Commissioner Garcia and US Rep. Gutierrez has been well known and dates back to the Harold Washington era.
“There is no doubt that David Orr has been a political clerk and not an objective, independent guardian of Cook County’s voting system. Instead of protecting the rights of voters, he has been using his influence to harass one campaign while ignoring allegations of obvious voter fraud by workers supported by his allies. That is an outrageous abuse of David Orr’s powers and clearly a violation of his responsibility to insure fair, balanced and non-partisan elections,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections.
“David Orr’s political activism in this election has compromised his judgment,” said Sandoval. “The voters of Cook County deserve better.”
Oh, c’mon, man.
* Anybody hearing anything about what’s going on in that town today?
* Street gangs, racial discord, gropes and gas — all standard Cicero campaign fare