Chicago Alderman Ed Burke accused of electioneering during midterm election

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Embattled Chicago Alderman Ed Burke is accused of electioneering at a polling place in November 2018, and prompting calls for close monitoring in the 14th Ward on Election Day.

Burke is seen on video taken by Esau Chavez passing out bags with his name on them inside a 14th Ward polling place during the midterm election.

"He was over there wondering why his precinct workers we're not passing these bags out inside the polling location. He proceeds to the boxes and starts opening them up," Chavez said.

Chavez and others, including Congressman Chuy Garcia's campaign chairman, filed complaints with the Chicago Board of Elections on November 6. The board said Burke's actions were clearly a violation.

"Even if someone's name is not on the ballot, they cannot campaign in a campaign free zone in a polling place itself or within 100 feet of that location," said Jim Allen, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman.

Besides complaints of Burke inside the polling place, others said his precinct workers were passing out the bags at other several other polling places. In addition, some claim voters were asked to sign petition for Burke after they submitted their ballots.

While it is all considered a violation, the election board said by law it is not electioneering, which is a misdemeanor

"It's electioneering only when the person that refuses to obey the orders of a poll worker," Allen said.

Burke and his workers obeyed orders and left.

While the issue was taken care of in November, Garcia, a supporter of one of Burke's opponents in the aldermanic election later this month, called Tuesday on all law enforcement agencies to monitor every 14th Ward polling place on February 26.

"Our goal is to ensure there is no electioneering, that there is no intimidation of voters," Garcia said.

The Chicago Board of Election said it plans to send in extra investigators to the 14th Ward on Election Day.
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