Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x5 - Pritzker responds - SGOPs demand answers - Manar may hold hearing - Breakdown by county - 16 voted, but questions remain *** Some green card-holders appear to have voted after SoS computer glitch automatically registered them to vote
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*** UPDATED x5 - Pritzker responds - SGOPs demand answers - Manar may hold hearing - Breakdown by county - 16 voted, but questions remain *** Some green card-holders appear to have voted after SoS computer glitch automatically registered them to vote

Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

* Cole Lauterbach at the Center Square

Illinois’ automatic voter registration program, though not fully-implemented, appears to have allowed more than 500 non-citizens onto various county’s election registries.

In letters first obtained by Bloomington-based political blogger Diane Benjamin, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office notified the State Board of Elections that a keypad glitch in the non-REAL ID license and identification card process allowed a number of non-citizens to have their information forwarded to ISBE from July 2, 2018, to Dec. 13, 2019. Those non-citizens were then sent voter cards.

“We caught the error and we’ve identified everybody,” Secretary of State spokesman Dave Drucker said Friday. “We’ve sent them a letter and the State Board of Elections acknowledging that it was our error.”

The non-eligible DMV customers made their way onto the state’s voter rolls when the keypads they used to enter information incorrectly added their information to bundles of correctly registered customers.

“Since these applicants have indicated “No” to an attestation regarding citizenship, there is a strong possibility these individuals were not citizens at the time of their application, however, that does not necessarily mean they are not currently citizens,” according to letter from an elections official sent on Dec. 30.

The errors, as admittedly serious by authorities, represent less than one percent of the more than 740,000 new voters registered through Illinois DMV facilities since the automatic voter registration program began in July [2018].

It’s actually 0.078 percent.

The SoS letter to the Board of Elections is here. The ISBE letter to local officials is here.

* But there’s more to it than that

The Illinois State Board of Elections acknowledged that out of 574 non-U.S. citizens who were inadvertently registered to vote in Illinois, an unknown number of them may have voted illegally in the 2018 election.

“We do know that some of them voted” in the 2018 election, spokesman Matt Dietrich said in a phone call on Monday afternoon, though his office was not immediately able to determine how many of them may have voted, or how many may have been legal citizens who simply filled out their state form incorrectly. Dietrich expects the elections agency will have more specific answers when state workers return to their desks after a government holiday. […]

It remains unclear how many of the 574 people impacted may have actually cast a ballot in 2018, in part, because state employees at the elections board couldn’t be reached on a state holiday. A spokesman for the agency expects to have a more specific answer on Tuesday. Non-citizens who vote in American elections can face swift consequences, including immediate deportation.

* Kyle has a point…

* More

Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker said the list did not include undocumented immigrants. The glitch affected Illinois residents who had green cards, but were not eligible to vote. […]

“Potentially 574 self-identified non-citizens, these are that were people that were doing the right thing when they went into the Driver Services facilities and they were doing the right thing saying they were non-citizens, but they were still forwarded to register to vote,” state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield said. “This is an egregious break of state law.

“This is exactly what we were talking about when automatic voter registration was debated – that these are the potential problems that could exist,” Butler said. […]

In a letter to House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, Butler asked for an immediate hearing either this week or next week when lawmakers return for the start of the spring legislative session. He said the Secretary of State Office must be held accountable and elections must be secure.

Heads should roll and we also need a complete accounting of this mess. Like now.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Matt Dietrich at the Illinois State Board of Elections…

We know that 19 votes were cast from the 545 who were registered. However, it’s possible that some of those who checked the “no” box on the citizenship question did so in error. Because of that possibility, it’s up to the local election authorities to determine the voting status of the voters in their jurisdiction whose AVR applications were errantly forwarded.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Well, at least we know that the one-vote margin in the Macon County sheriff’s race last year likely wasn’t impacted…

*** UPDATE 3 *** Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)…

There is absolutely no room for administrative error when it comes to properly conducting our election system. Democrats and Republicans came together and unanimously approved automatic voter registration, and we expect it to be done correctly. We need a gaugeable plan of action from the Secretary of State’s office to make sure such errors never happen again. If it takes a Senate committee hearing to get those answers, that’s the course I’ll pursue.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Letter signed by all 19 Senate Republicans…

The rule of the law is the bedrock of our nation, and while the Illinois State Board of Elections, charged with safeguarding our election process, did the right thing by notifying the public of the error, we have questions regarding this program that the Secretary of State should answer, such as:

    * Will the SOS disclose which DMV locations erroneously registered these individuals to vote?
    * Will an investigation be conducted to identify those responsible, and what actions will be taken to rectify the issue?
    * What assurances can the SOS provide to ensure this never happens again?

It is imperative the residents of Illinois know their elections are being managed and conducted in a lawful manner, and ensuring our laws are being implemented correctly is a practical matter, not a partisan one.

*** UPDATE 5 *** The governor…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wylie Coyote - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    Those “votes” could have impacted any close races? Local or state?

  2. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 9:58 am:

    Election shenanigans in the Cook County Democratic party is now a “right wing conspiracy”?

    I think Kyle could benefit from a history lesson

  3. - Bruce (no not him) - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    “Illinois elections in question by every right wing conspiracy follower” Absolutely, and maybe also by anyone who doesn’t trust the elections anyway. This needs to be dealt with fast and hard.

  4. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    Yeah Lucky, now is an outstanding time for Republicans to be sanctimonious about election shenanigans. Your self awareness is second to none.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    Nineteen are nineteen too many.

    This failure here, even if ONE slipped by, is not just a glitch or a “oops”, this is eroding the trust of elections.

    A complete, detailed, and full investigation that has a conclusion and a remedy needs to completed in very short order, and an idea that this is a systematic problem and no human error is something that should not be tolerated or accepted.

  6. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    I can see how they might catch it since people said they were not citizens so a re check would show they should not have been registered but what is someone check they were eligible and were not? How is that caught?

  7. - SAP - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    I’m really going to worry when someone comes out and says “This was all done legit”.

  8. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    The SOS office is in desperate need of a breath of fresh air…they are too large of an organization to go by without accountability due to the popularity of Secretary White.

  9. - Juice - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    Fun fact. Non-citizens had voting rights in Illinois under the 1818 constitution. The right was removed via a constitutional amendment it 1848, but even then, non-citizens who had been voting were grandfathered in. Federal law didn’t prohibit non-citizens from voting until 1996.

  10. - jimbo - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    I can’t fathom why Matt Dietrich at the Elections Board told Mark Maxwell on a holiday that “some of them voted” and also that they wouldn’t know details until people returned to work Tuesday.

    Now we’re already down to 19 people and we still don’t know if these are even actual non-eligible for voting people yet.

    Obviously this doesn’t absolve the SOS, but this feels a lot like when the GOP rolls out the voter fraud! banner which has always turned up nothing in the end.

  11. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    Integrity of the voter rolls is priority number one . MVR has been problematic in a number of states. CA added over 20,000…

  12. - welp ok - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    Remember, the Macon County sheriff’s race was decided by 1 vote. And some of the 574 were registered in Macon County.

  13. - Bruce (no not him) - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    And we all know, the non-citizens all vote Democratic. /s

  14. - Bruce (no not him) - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    An actual serious question. “…an unknown number of them may have voted illegally in the 2018 election.” Is it actually illegal if they have a voter’s registration?

  15. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    So what we know right now is that:

    1) the 19 that voted could be fine according to Matt Dietrich. We don’t know for sure, but the idea that they’re automatically ineligible without further investigation is wrong

    2) AVR is not an inherently bad thing, but poor administration in any aspect of really any function can be. See: Linda Sanchez-Bob Dornan congressional race in Orange County, CA in 1996. There was no AVR, but there was an over yearlong U.S. House investigation after an election contest into whether non-citizens had wrongly been registered to vote and voted

  16. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    - welp ok - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    Remember, the Macon County sheriff’s race was decided by 1 vote. And some of the 574 were registered in Macon County.

    As did last April’s Springfield Ward 2 aldermanic race between Shawn Gregory and Gail Simpson.

  17. - welp ok - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    Actually wasn’t Springfield ward 2 a tie and ended up being a lottery?

  18. - ***Nervous Face*** - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    I’m a little sick thinking about the potential citizenship applicants who are going to have to try and explain this one to the USCIS. When I worked for an immigration attorney, he used to say that the #1 way to wreck your eligibility for U.S. citizenship is to register to vote if you aren’t eligible.

  19. - Angry Republican - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    Probably all a Russian plot to undermine our elections.

  20. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    It’s a serious problem that should be addressed, but let’s not throw the automatic registration baby out with the glitch bathwater.

  21. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    Okay, we have a problem. Let’s fix the programming problem, make sure the 19 votes cast didn’t alter the outcome of an election and move on.

    Let’s not make more of this than it is. A mistake occurred - fix it, then go and sin no more.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    === Probably all a Russian plot to undermine our elections.===

    The Russians did hack the Board of Elections here, so there’s no fake news there.

  23. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:08 am:

    Wow. Not ok. Wow.

  24. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    =Russian plot=

    Well then, that is ok with the GOP. If the are from Mexico, well that is different. /s

  25. - GV - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    == Let’s fix the programming problem, make sure the 19 votes cast didn’t alter the outcome of an election and move on. ==

    That’s going to be really, really hard in Macon County.

  26. - Boone’s is back - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    Agree with Kyle. This was will be all over Hannity tonight and become the justification for the massive voter purges we’re seeing by the GOP. I think there were something like 200,000 voters purged last month in WI alone.

  27. - Union Thug Gramma - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    Hmmm, horrible problem…19 people, out of a population of over 12 Million voted, possibly illeaglly…POSSIBLY, due to an issue with computer/user error and we’re hysterical over it??? I mean, if I had $12M in a bank account, I really wouldn’t be worried if I was off balance by .19. Also, while we’re wringing out hands, WI is at this time trying to purge 100,000 legal voters off the roll…but we have a crisis cuz 19 may have voted…Please people…take a breath. Was it a problem? Yes. Has it been fixed? Yes. Move on.

  28. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    What Union Thug Gramma is alluding to. Yes, we have to do better in preventing illegal voting, but this is minuscule in comparison with the systematic and purposeful GOP voter suppression in various states that started or really kicked in during the Tea Party days.

  29. - Jesse White's - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:48 am:

    Boy the SOS really took a “tumble” on this one.

  30. - jimbo - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 11:51 am:

    == Let’s fix the programming problem, make sure the 19 votes cast didn’t alter the outcome of an election ==

    But we don’t even know *if* the 19 were ineligible to vote. It’s not that much of a stretch to think that some are going to be American citizens that pressed the wrong button.

    Have none of you stood behind the senior who keeps pressing the wrong button repeatedly on the credit card reader? Or swiping repeatedly when it keeps saying insert?

    Find the facts first, then complain and fix the problem

  31. - statehoss - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    There was no election since April, and not many people vote in that one. The only big election was November 2018 just 3.5 months of registration after this started. So 19 voted out of how many that were registered by then?

  32. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    How do you know that the Wisconsin voters purged are legal voters?

    A Wisconsin judge ordered that the registration of up to 234,000 voters be tossed out because they may have moved, a victory for conservatives that could make it more difficult for people to vote next year in the key swing state.

    The judge on Friday sided with three voters represented by a conservative law firm who argued the state elections commission should have immediately deactivated any of the roughly 234,000 voters who didn’t respond to an October mailing within 30 days. The voters were flagged as having potentially moved.

    As of Dec. 5, only about 16,500 of those who received the mailing had registered at their new address. More than 170,000 hadn’t responded, and the postal service was unable to deliver notifications to nearly 60,000 voters”

    At least 60,000 people no longer reside at the address they registered at.

    Why should their voter registration at that address not be cancelled?

  33. - A Guy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:28 pm:

    It’s still early. I’m not at all certain that 19 voted, or 547 were eligible, are even accurate. These things have a way of picking up some yeast and growing. This should be investigated very thoroughly. Systems errors like this don’t have “limited” consequences.

  34. - SWIL Voter - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    The asymmetry in reaction to 19 people accidentally being allowed to vote because of a computer glitch compared to the hundreds of thousands we intentionally disenfranchise for things like not voting for a couple years, having a name similar to a felon, having a parking ticket, etc is enough to make a person go crazy

  35. - The Comfy Chair - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    The heat could be intense on this one. Jesse needs to have a another birthday party real quick to prompt some positive coverage.

  36. - Bertrum Cates - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    To = That person may in fact be a citizen, and incorrectly filled out the citizenship question on a DMV keypad. =

    If you setup a system that allows people to fail, do not be surprised when they do.

    I am not against AVR - far from it - but Kyle is right: it calls into question the integrity of the initiative.

    We know so little at this point. The only reason we know about these 19 is because the applicants said they were not citizens.

  37. - JIbba - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    ==How do you know that the Wisconsin voters purged are legal voters?===

    Just remember that they are ALL legal voters somewhere, even if they need to get their registrations updated before the next election. And there was no real evidence that 180K of them were not actually valid at their current location.

  38. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Right now we have a president and his political party fighting to allow foreign interference in our elections. It makes this problem look even smaller by comparison.

  39. - R A T - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    I had to laugh. Even LP knows this is such a nothing-burger that instead of whining about this he did the WI defense. I am so glad he is on this site as I do truly enjoy him.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    === A “Glitch” … riiiiiiiiiight…===


    === It’s actually 0.078 percent.===

    Now a phony glitch is rounding pennies at Initech.

    If it wasn’t for a red stapler dispute…

    This is a serious-serious thing that needs a remedy, and be investigated (even if it’s 570+ folks hitting a wrong screen) and no glossing over what damage it does put to those looking to ensure, unquestioned, fair and free elections.

    This is not a Michael Bolton programming conspiracy

  41. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    The fact that people got incorrectly registered to vote via this method is a mistake by Secretary of State personnel. The fact that the incorrectly registered persons didn’t report it when they received their voter registration cards is either a misunderstanding, sheer laziness, or possible fraudulent behavior. The fact that 19 people unable to vote actually voted is fraudulent on their part. Non citizens know they can’t vote. They chose to do it anyway. Just like people who move out of a district and go there to vote anyway. That’s on them. Why isn’t anyone here suggesting any of these 19 people actually go to jail( if proven to be non-citizens)?

  42. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===The fact that 19 people unable to vote actually voted===

    Not a fact yet.

  43. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    === Why isn’t anyone here suggesting any of these 19 people actually go to jail( if proven to be non-citizens)?===

    Because I’m of the thought of;

    Investigate, conclude… then, if need be, indict, try, and if the court convicts, sentence?

  44. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    This is not a “nothing- burger”, and it is unfortunate and sad that anybody actually thinks that, and used that word to describe it.

  45. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    Correct, Rich. Some of the 19 might be eligible. I made that concept more clear in the final sentence, but I should have in the sentence you quote also.

  46. - sonny chiss - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    Was wondering the same thing—-

    “I can see how they might catch it since people said they were not citizens so a re check would show they should not have been registered but what is someone check they were eligible and were not. How is that caught?”—-

  47. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===How is that caught?===

    It’s a felony and almost always results in deportation. Not a big problem.

  48. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    To some updates;

    Sen. Manar has the right idea and approach to how to move forward, and the reasons, even suggesting a hearing.

    The SGOP, again, showing some chops.

    Instead of sounding so far off the page, they exhibit good tone, reasonable action points, and keeping the partisanship out of the mix. Really-really great to read, SGOP

  49. - Guv'nah Bond - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    Anything yet from House Dem Caucus?

  50. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 5:29 pm:

    This is being blown way out of proportion. 500 people out of more than 740,000 –> 0.078% represents a phenomenal failure rate - 1 error in 1,500. This is the failure rate that the manufacturing industry can only pray to attain.

  51. - Cadillac - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 7:01 pm:

    After listening to JB, I get the feeling they may have only checked 1 keypad so far.

  52. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Jan 21, 20 @ 7:01 pm:

    When my wife, who is Asian, and has a green card, renewed her drivers license in our home town, she was asked if she wanted to register to vote. We were both kind of taken aback. We looked at each other and I explained to the lady, she wasn’t allowed to vote. She said “it is up to you” I said “no it is the law”. We got the license and left. We were kind of worried this was happening elsewhere. Obviously we were right.

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