In Chicago, Illinois, Election Day went anything but smoothly. Two to three thousand election judges failed to show up at the polls when they opened, causing Chicago officials to dispatch 250 standby judges. It wasn’t enough. Lines reached seven hours in some places, and some voters were actually turned away from polling places in the morning. In the race for Illinois governor, Republican Bruce Rauner won by only five points. Low Chicago turnout contributed to his victory.
So why didn’t the election judges show? Robocalls went out to the judges in the days leading up to Election Day telling them they needed to participate in an extra session of training before performing their duties. According to Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times, the addresses given for the judges to participate in the “training session” led to a vacant lot and a clothing store.
A criminal investigation has been opened into the incident by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, but so far charges haven’t been filed. However, the Chicago Sun-Times is pretty sure they know whodunit:
[Jim] Parrilli, 68, is the 19th Ward Republican committeeman and an unsuccessful candidate for a seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in Tuesday’s election.
I’m told it’s indeed his voice on that recording and two others obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sources said Parrilli was working with Sharon Meroni, a Republican wingnut who considers herself a one-woman crusader against vote fraud in Illinois — in between her efforts to prove Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen.
An interesting note is that they didn’t bother to hide their names. The Republican Party has disavowed the activists, and claims they were working alone.
Parrilli was also the voice behind calls telling election judges that they had to vote Republican to keep their jobs.
The GOP has made it clear that they have no interest in actually representing Americans. When you’re directly attacking the democratic process in order to gain power, you’ve abandoned the principle this country was founded on — representation. Unfortunately, many people seem to be all too willing to have their rights stripped away. Voter turnout this election cycle was lower than it has been in more than seven decades.