The Chicago Board of Elections has received more than 350,000 vote-by-mail applications for the general election, up from about 250,000 in mid-August, and that number could grow to a third of all city voters by Election Day, the board’s chair said Tuesday. […]
The number of vote-by-mail applications the city has received so far is more than triple the board’s all-time record of 118,000, reached during this year’s primary, according to Marisel Hernandez, chairwoman of the Chicago Board of Elections.
Given the current rate, Hernandez said in an interview later, the city “could easily reach 500,000” vote-by-mail applications out of about 1.52 million registered voters.
More than 1 million Illinoisans have applied to vote by mail for the November election, roughly triple the number of the last presidential contest in 2016. […]
In southwestern Illinois, St. Clair County Clerk Thomas Holbrook said the office has received more than 25,000 mail ballot requests. That’s compared with roughly 9,200 people who cast ballots by mail in 2016. He said his office will hire more people to handle the influx. […]
A pending federal lawsuit against the [state’s vote by mail] expansion could further complicate things. Cook County Republicans allege expanded mail voting is a partisan scheme.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee intervened, accusing Republicans of “playing politics and risking the lives of Illinoisans by forcing them to choose between exercising their right to vote or the health and safety of themselves and their families.”
The judge has indicated he’ll rule before ballots go out this month.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is warning the public about robocalls trying to discourage people from voting by mail.
According to Raoul’s office, some voters have reported receiving robocalls warning them that voting by mail could result in their private information being provided to third parties.
According to Raoul, calls can involve an automated recording claiming that information belonging to people who vote by mail will be shared with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track people for mandatory vaccines, police departments and law enforcement in order to locate individuals who have outstanding warrants, and creditors to help find people who owe outstanding debt.
Raoul is urging individuals to disregard any messages containing such false claims, saying in part, “I am urging voters to be aware that Illinois law does not permit election authorities to share personal information, regardless of the voting method you choose. If you receive a call, email or text trying to convince you otherwise, please report the contact to my office or the Illinois State Board of Elections.”
When it comes to voter turnout, Chicago’s 3rd Ward, which includes Bronzeville, is one of the biggest.
But some voters, including Alderman Pat Dowell, were recently targets of robocalls discouraging vote by mail.
“The message was ‘don’t vote by mail because the information you’ve given the Board of Elections is going to go to a national data base for credit card companies to come after you,’” Dowell said.
She said the message also relayed that her private information will be given to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the police.
While the voice was an African American-sounding woman, Dowell said the caller ID came up as Jack Burkman, an ultra-conservative conspiracy theorist.
* These calls are not confined to Illinois…
Michigan authorities are investigating a robocall that is targeting voters in Detroit by providing false information about mail-in voting.
The audio of the phone call in question:
This is [unintelligible] 1699, a civil rights organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. Mail-in voting sounds great. But did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants, and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debt? The CDC is even pushing to give preference for mail in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines Don’t be [unintelligible] into giving your private information to the man. Stay safe, and beware of vote by mail.
The recording alleges the call was made on behalf of Project 1599, a project spearheaded by conservative social media personality Jacob Wohl and GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman. The actual source of the call remains unknown, but Wohl and Burkman have a “known reputation for spreading misinformation in an effort to gain notoriety,” Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. Wohl denied involvement when contacted by The Detroit News on Thursday and said he and Burkman,while “not fans of mail-in voting,” were “puzzled” by the call.