GOP suit charges voter fraud in Lake Co.

October 28, 2008 4:29:25 PM PDT
A lawsuit filed in Lake County, Illinois, could prevent thousands of ballots from being counted on Election Day. The state Republican party is concerned that the applications of thousands of newly registered voters may not be legitimate.The Republican party is worried about thousands of applications allegedly turned in by the group Citizen Action Illinois. Republicans believe the only way to make sure the applications are legitimate is to make sure the voters who filled out those applications cast provisional ballots. Democrats believe this is another example of voter suppression.

A small stack of paper contains 850 voter registration applications; the Lake County clerk has determined they are completely fictitious.

The Illinois Republican party claims the applications were taken and turned in by the non-profit group Citizen Action Illinois. Now Republicans are worried about the legitimacy of all the other applications allegedly turned in by Citizen Action, 5,000, to be exact.

"What we are asking for, though, is for additional time for the county clerk to be able to go through these applications and to truly determine whether or not these are actually legitimate voters or not," said John Fogarty, Illinois Republican party attorney.

But the clerk does not have the resources to do that before Election Day. So Republicans are filing a lawsuit to force the clerk to have voters with questionable applications cast provisional ballots.

"What we are seeking simply is to put in place processes that can give every voter in Lake County the confidence that every legal vote will be counted," said Andy McKenna, Illinois Republican party chairman.

Provisional ballots are counted, but not until days Election Day. Democrats believe this is nothing more than voter suppression.

"They just don't want to see the votes counted. But we're not going to let this happen. This election is going to be an honest, fair election and every vote that should be counted will be counted," said State Sen. Terry Link, Lake County Democratic party chairman.

State Republicans say this stamp on the applications prove they were taken by Citizen Action Illinois. But the non-profit group says it is not their stamp.

Citizen Action says it did register 600 people in Lake County through its own quality control system, but, "at no time during the 2008 registration drive did Citizen Action Illinois turn in cards directly to the Lake County Board of Elections."

Citizen Action is named in the lawsuit as well as Lake County Clerk Willard Helander. She said Tuesday she could not comment because she has not seen the lawsuit.

Republicans are hoping, especially with a week to go, that a judge will take this lawsuit pretty quickly. They're hoping they can get a hearing Wednesday. Democrats are hoping the judge just throws this out.


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