• Dr. Lora Chamberlain

A Little Help Please - volunteers needed for an April 2nd Election Day project in Sub. Cook County

Hello to all democracy advocates in Chicagoland,

Clean Count Cook County is a good government, not-for-profit organization, advocating in Chicago and Sub.Cook County for fair, transparent and accurate elections.

We are asking your help in recruiting a few registered IL voters from Chicagoland, (who do not necessarily have to live in Oak Park or River Forest), who will undergo a short poll watching training, and be assigned to a multiple precinct polling places on Election Day in Oak Park and River Forest to observe the implementation of new election machines.

The Sub. Cook County Election Division is rolling out brand new election machinery, (Dominion Democracy Suite), for the April 2nd Elections in 3 cities: Oak Park, River Forest, and Proviso

On Election Day, voters will be able to choose to vote on a regular paper ballot or utilize a new electronic ballot marking device.

The voters will make their choices on this touch screen, then a machine will produce a paper record of their votes cast that the voter can review.  Both the regular paper ballots, and the produced pieces of paper marked with the voter's "cast votes" and a bar code containing the votes, will be fed through a new digital scanner. 

We have very little experience with these new election machines, but we know from past experience that when new election machinery is rolled out there can be problems.  We are very curious about these new machines, and have a list of concerns as well, (see below). 

Each volunteer poll watcher will be assigned to a multiple precinct polling place that will have 2 - 3 precincts so that the poll watcher can observe the maximum number of interactions between the voters and these new machines.  This is going to be a relatively low turnout Election Day on April 2nd so we think this is the best way to maximize our observations. 

Volunteer poll watchers will be trained in the usual election law and poll watching rules, given an assigned polling place and credentials from Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, and a list of questions and concerns to focus on,

Are you a registered IL voter and interested in helping us? Please send us a note at drlora22@gmail.com with your name, email, phone and let us know which one of these poll watching training times and locations works best for you:

1) Wed, March 27, 7 pm. the Falcon Room, 3rd floor Evanston Public Library at 1703 Orrington Ave, near Church and Chicago Ave, in Evanston.  Paid parking is under the library or on the streets.

2) Sun, March 31, 2-4 pm at the L!ve Cafe, 163 S. Oak Park Ave, in Oak Park L!VE Café - Oak Park, IL Parking is on the street and free on Sunday, but please check the signs to make sure.

Here is a list of questions that we will be asking the poll watchers to make observations about on Election Day: How easy was it to set up the new machines (both the ballot marking device and the ballot scanner)--were there any glitches? 

If there were problems, what did the Election Judges (EJs) and Equipment Managers (EMs) have to do?

Did the vendor or the Election Division have to send in technicians to get the machines up and running?  

Did the machines stay in good operating mode throughout the entire day? If not, how long were the machines shut down?  

Did the voters appear to find the new machines easy to use or were they asking for help?  Approximately how long were voters standing at the machines casting their votes?

Did long lines (4+voters) occur with voters waiting to use the new machines? Could the observers determine if the voters were verifying their votes?  

Did many of the voters have to relinquish their ballots because of errors and start over?

Did the EJs have to put ballots in the auxiliary ballot box in the blue carts because of scanner shut down? Did the scanner produce a poll tape at the end of the evening?   (poll watchers typically obtain copies of these tapes) How difficult was the closing of the polls as it relates to the new ballot marking devices and the new scanner?

Thanks for your help with this project, Dr. Lora Chamberlain Clean Count Cook County 773-486-7660 drlora22@gmail.com

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