- Everyone in polling place has to be clearly identified.
- FBI hotline for situations where someone has already voted for a voter.
- Precincts with large numbers of provisional ballots should be audited.
- Require Chicago Board of Elections to report on the adequacy of the resources provided.
- Or get federal courts to assign a monitor, like Shakman did for City of Chicago hiring.
- Rules for ballot pick-up.
- Independent election judges: create a process for people to become judges at specific precincts without going through either the Democratic or Republican committeeman.
- Pass law that allows judges to penalize campaigns that violate the law.
- There should be a conference held in Chicago on how to best protect seniors & the disabled from being controlled or abused in elections.
- To make a nominating petition challenge, the plaintiff has to be a candidate in the race to have standing.
- There should be a penalty for failed nominating petition challenges.
Everyone in polling place has to be clearly identified. There should be a roster clearly posted that includes a list of the judges, poll watchers, candidates, committeemen & others authorized to be in the polling place that day. And everyone should wear a name tag that includes the person's name and duty. Their campaign affiliation should be on the roster, so people know who they are dealing with.
I was in a polling place wear someone who the judges thought was a credentialed poll watcher took the ballots and started going through them at the end of the day. It turns out the guy never submitted credentials and his allies from the Dick Mell organization didn't know who he was when the police came (even though they'd been working with him all day).
If you're in a polling place, it should be clear your reason for being there. If someone isn't a voter and s/he's not on the roster, s/he should be asked to leave. If s/he doesn't comply and stay away, s/he should be arrested.
FBI hotline for situations where someone has already voted for a voter. Most of these cases are mistakes. Two people with similar names (or the same name) live in the same precinct. John Williams, Sr. comes to vote and the election judge has him sign the card for John Williams, Jr. Election judges who have attitudes then tell the second person s/he can't vote. This problem should have a dedicated hotline.
- Election judges will be more diligent trying to resolve problem if they know it will trigger a FBI team being there in 30 minutes.
- If there is fraudulent voting, this is a serious offense.
- Were judges steering voters to provisional ballots?
- Were judges steering voters who should have been casting "normal" ballots?
- Were judges steering voters who should have been re-directed to another polling place?
- Were the judges doing exactly what they were supposed to do, but had a large number of cases that should have voted provisionally?
Even if the large number of provisional ballots is just an "honest mistake", doing this kind of audit will help the Chicago Board of Elections improve its training procedures.
Require Chicago Board of Elections to report on the adequacy of the resources provided. Does the Chicago Board of Elections feel it is adequately funded to provide "free & fair elections"? When the Chicago Board of Elections makes this report, people who participate in elections should be able to file their own addenda, which the Chicago Board of Elections would respond to.
Oversight board to evaluate complaints against the Chicago Board of Elections. Anyone participating in elections would be able to file a complaint against Chicago Board of Elections. This board would evaluate whether the complaints had merit. This board should be composed of people who volunteer and meet the requirements (taking a test) chosen at random from the pool of qualified applicants.
The goal is to apply some pressure to the Chicago Board of Elections to make elections run better over time.
Or get federal courts to assign a monitor, like Shakman did for City of Chicago hiring. It would be easy to document that Chicago Board of Elections does not enforce its own rules and Illinois law during elections. And the application of the law in qualifying candidates for the ballot is biased and inconsistent. Therefore, a monitor appointed by the federal courts and paid by City of Chicago is an appropriate remedy until elections are "free and fair".
Rules for ballot pick-up. In the meeting, an election lawyer said that Illinois law was recently modified to allow campaign workers to go to voter's homes to pick-up mail-in ballots. Campaigns are notified when mail-in ballots are sent.
To me--and I think many others--this makes possible campaign workers exercising inappropriate influence when the voter is marking her/his ballot.
How should this be addressed? Not sure. I can think of various possibilities.
Given that the US Postal Service will pick-up mail from most addresses (all? almost all?) in Chicago it seems like the law itself is suspect.
If the voter lives at an address where the USPS will pick-up mail and it's before the final two days to submit the ballot, campaign workers should not be allowed to pick-up ballots. There is no legitimate need to allow this practice that opens the door to corruption.
Independent election judges: create a process for people to become judges at specific precincts without going through either the Democratic or Republican committeeman.
One of the way elections are rigged in Chicago (Illinois) is that the judges in polling places are appointed by the Dem or GOP committeemen (in many cases these two people are political allies who benefit from each other's connections).
Having election judges appointed by the committeeman is inherently suspect.
But there's a reasonable fix. Have Chicago Board of Elections create a process by which someone can qualify her/himself to be an independent election judge in a precinct. Eg, if someone gets signatures from 5% of the registered voters in the precinct s/he can be a judge in that precinct.
Creating the possibility of independent election judges shouldn't be a big change to the status quo unless the status quo is crooked or incompetent.
Pass law that allows judges to penalize campaigns that violate the law.
Right now, a campaign can violate the law and there's rarely any penalty. Judges can engage in proportional reduction. If A gets 60% of the vote in a precinct and B gets 40% of the vote and B shows that two votes in that precinct were invalid then the judge reduces A's total votes by 1.2 and B's total votes by 0.8. Even in close elections, this sort of remedy is almost always worthless.
Under Illinois law, elections become pro-wrestling. Break the rules until the ref shows up. And in many polling places there are so many rules being broken, it saps poll watcher's energy to report them all. It creates an atmosphere of intimidation for everyone: the poll watchers, the election judges and the voters.
Illinois should pass a law that requires judges to assess penalties against campaigns that violate the law. If someone assists a "disabled" or non English proficient voter without there being a Dem & GOP election judge present, this should carry a penalty of, say, 50 votes.
There's going to be pushback against this. Courts shouldn't decide elections. But which is worse? Having courts decide elections or having blatant cheating decide elections?
There is no requirement that campaigns have people in polling places. If a campaign can't train their people to not violate the law, then they shouldn't have people in or near polling places.
Prediction: once a law passes that ***requires*** judges to penalize candidates whose campaigns (and allies) break the law, the amount of law breaking with decline to almost nothing.
Conference on protecting the votes of seniors & the disabled. My suspicion is that the biggest advantage for insiders is their ability to access senior centers & nursing homes, plus pressuring people who are seniors & disabled who don't live in a residential situation.
There should be a conference held in Chicago on how to best protect seniors & the disabled from being controlled or abused in elections. This includes cases of mail-in voting.
These aren't simple questions. But some stuff is pretty obvious. The rules for candidates and public officials accessing residential facilities should be publicly available (on the web). Challengers should have the same access as incumbents. Visits by public officials should be logged and published online so it can be demonstrated that all candidates are getting equal access.
To make a nominating petition challenge, the plaintiff has to be a candidate in the race to have standing. If the plaintiff hasn't filed nominating petitions for an office, she isn't allowed to challenge the nominating petitions of a candidate.
There should be a penalty for failed nominating petition challenges. One, the Illinois Supreme Court and Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission should sanction plaintiffs and their attorneys who initiate nominating petition challenges that are primarily about diverting the campaigns time and financial resources from campaigning to litigating. (This is already part of the attorney code of ethics in Illinois; it just goes unenforced in nominating petition fights.)
Two, to file a nominating petition challenge, the plaintiff should be required to put up money that is forfeited to the defendant if the challenge fails. If the challenge fails by a wide margin, there should be an additional fine assessed with the plaintiff removed from the ballot until the fine is paid.
I've got some more ideas, eg how to improve the integrity of the ballot position drawings. But this is a starting point for discussion.
Put your ideas in the comments.