Details of voting 'irregularities' surface in Guzzardi, Berrios saga

Details of voting 'irregularities' surface in Guzzardi, Berrios saga

A missing poll list, a vote-totals box that appeared to be tampered with, and a precinct captain promising voters city services are a few of the “irregularities” Will Guzzardi’s camp believes happened at a few 39th District polling places on the March 20 Democratic primary.

Guzzardi is challenging incumbent 39th District state Rep. Toni Berrios–daughter of Democratic boss and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios. According to the Chicago Board of Elections, she won by 125 votes, but Guzzardi has since demanded a recount.

Immediately after the election, Guzzardi announced that is camp heard about “irregularities” from a number of volunteers.

Thursday, Rebecca Reynolds, a spokesperson for Guzzardi’s campaign, emailed a detailed list of the alluded-to “irregularities”.

They include:

  • A poll watcher reported that an election judge working at a polling place at Barry Elementary School, 2828 N. Kilbourn Ave., was told to give a polling list–a record of everybody who voted–to Felix Cardona. Cardona is Berrios’ campaign treasurer and he has a history of filing ballot petition challenges against her opponents.
  • The vote totals from the Barry school polling place didn’t come in to the board of elections’ warehouse until March 21, according to the press release. And the seal on the vote-totals box–there to ensure that no tampering occurs en route–was allegedly tampered with. The board of elections could not be reached immediately to confirm this.
  • A Berrios-affiliated precinct captain promised voters city services as they took their ballots, and then took down their contact information. He also handled ballots.
  • The polling place at the Christopher House, 3255 W. Altgeld St., opened an hour late, which turned away voters.
  • Poll watchers were allegedly denied access to materials.
  • An official from the board of elections reportedly told judges not to show poll watchers the election lists.

Manuel Galvan, Berrios’ press secretary, said Friday that Guzzardi has leveled accusations for weeks now, and has not filed any formal complaints with the board of elections, which, according to Galvan, is standard procedure when such allegations are made.

“It’s not enough to make an allegation,” Galvan said. “If he ever gets around to filing [a formal complaint], then we’ll comment.”

Guzzardi has done all the recounting and he’s only picked up a few votes.

His Hail Mary is a canvass of the area in which he and volunteers will visit a small sample of people to see if they actually voted.

“The process will enable us to retabulate the votes in those precincts, and to learn more information about what transpired there,” Guzzardi said in a separate press release.

Guzzardi’s camp is aware that this next phase might not translate into a victory.

Reynolds said there have been cases when election results were reversed as a result of the voting indiscretions, but added “the goal is to ensure the integrity of the process.”

“We owe it to the voters,” she said.

© Community Renewal Society 2012


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