Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=155512
Story Retrieval Date: 5/23/2013 3:57:26 PM CST
There were few reports of disturbances or misconduct at Illinois polling places during Tuesday’s election, according to the attorney general and several Chicago-based election authorities.Attorney General Lisa Madigan ordered 166 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators to monitor polling stations around the state, 125 of them in Chicago.
“We checked with our people who were visiting precincts in counties throughout the state, and there were no problems of great significance,” said Scott Mulford, a Madigan spokesman.Sunday, the office provided voters with contact information, urging them to report any instances of misconduct and reminding them of their voting rights.
The Cook County Clerk’s office released a pamphlet this year titled “Keep It Fair,” which also informed voters of their rights and reminded them of the 100-foot campaign-free zone at polling places.One of Tuesday’s few notable incidents occurred at an Oak Lawn elementary school, where an election judge was removed after attempting to vote several times, marking up ballots and shouting racial slurs about President Barack Obama.
The incident was nothing compared to the 1963 case, in which West Side Ald. Benjamin Lewis won his primary but was found handcuffed and shot at his desk in his Ward office.On Tuesday, several minor cases of electioneering were reported around the state.
Kenneth R. Menzel, a legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said that recent elections have similarly been without major incidents.“Yesterday was deader than normal, though,” Menzel said. “Of course, we had a low turnout.”
Voter turnout statewide was under 25 percent, by some accounts.Chicago’s docile elections of recent vintage are a far cry from the corrupt and turbulent ones of the past.
“Vote early and often,” was the phrase of choice that used to float around the city, often attributed to William "Big Bill" Thompson, an Al Capone-backed mayor of Chicago in the early 20th Century. The phrase referred to the practice of Chicagoans voting multiple times, sometimes using the names of the deceased.Violence has been a staple on Election Day, as well.
In 1979, three Democratic precinct captains were arrested for threatening to break the legs of two women campaigning on behalf of an independent candidate for the city council.The most violent campaign, in 1928, became known as the “Pineapple Primary,” when 60 pineapple-sized bombs were thrown and two politicians killed, one on the day of the election.