UPDATE: Eric Voogd has asked me to put his name on the this summary which he wrote and sent to me.***Debriefing from a GOP poll watcher at polling place, 3021 W. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago:
On Tuesday morning, I arrived at the election polling location at 7:45am and inspected the surrounding premises. I was dressed in a full suit for professional business attire, which is what I am accustomed to wearing for work. Democrats were present outside electioneering at the cones set up outside 3021 West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago’s 33rd Ward. I waited outside the polling location until Sharon Meroni arrived with my credential papers. I would have been at this polling location at 5:15am, though my assignment for this location was not known until after 7am on the 2nd of November 2010.
When I went inside and introduced myself as a poll watcher and provided credentials to the election judges for Precinct 26, I was asked to sign in on the sheet for the inspector and police. I had to explain to the election judges that my signature was not necessary for that sheet. I then placed my business/laptop bag in a safe out of the way area behind the tables.
I went to assume my legally allowed position by the election judges for the sake of signature verification. I was immediately informed by an election judge named Sheila that I was not allowed by their table by their backside or next to them by the table. Sheila told me that I had to be a minimum of five feet from the table and election materials. She used the term election materials. I explained to her that I needed to see signature verification and could not do so from five feet from the table. She proceeded to tell me I had to stand five feet from the table from the side where the voters where lined up and collecting their ballots.
Sheila, who claimed to be an election judge for 20 years, obviously had no understanding of the rule that five feet did not mean from the signatures.
The problem with her “interpretation” of the election law was that 1. I could not see the signature verification in their books, 2. the spacing between the tables for Precincts 14 and 26 was such that I was then according to Sheila’s “rules” then in violation of the five foot rule for Precinct 14 and 3. I was clearly in the way of the voters due to the tight proximity of the distance between the set up of the two tables. I explained to Sheila that was an incorrect, and that the law allowed for me to stand beside the table. Sheila proceeded to make a scene stating I was interfering and disrupting the voting process. Another election judge Amanda from Precinct 26 chimed in with Sheila and also began making a scene in front of the voters. Amanda stated that everything was fine until I the poll watcher arrived, that they never had poll watchers at this location.
During the entire course of this time, the election judges from Precinct 14 were quiet watching this situation unfold between Sheila and Amanda in Precinct 26. At this time a voter, early 20s, signed in to vote and joined with Sheila and Amanda in heckling me. This particular voter thrust his back into my chest on three separate occasions as I stood trying to see the signature verification. As I stood to the side, he entered my personal space to knock me away from the table. According to legal statutes in Illinois, this is defined as assault. Neither Sheila nor Amanda did anything to stop what was taking place at this time. Sheila stated to me she was calling the inspector and the police to have me arrested and removed for interfering and disrupting the voting process.
At this point, I stated to Sheila I was contacting election authorities and attorneys. I called Joe Weiss in the IL GOP office at 8:28am. Following my conversation with Joe Weiss, I then contacted election central to speak with attorneys at 8:32am. I explained to them what had taken place. All my phone calls were made outside the building and outside of the blue cone perimeter. I made them on the backside of the building complex in alley so that no passing pedestrians or voters could hear the nature of the conversation.
When I returned to the polling location, a police officer arrived a few minutes later. At this time, Sheila’s story regarding me creating problems changed, as she stated everything was fine, that “I was acting good.” The police officer stated to Sheila he had received a call about voter interference. He looked at me when I was identified as the poll watcher and then at her in disbelief that he had been called out to deal with me. I do not know who called the police, if this was Sheila or the voter who had been at the table at the time when Sheila and Amanda were creating a scene.
I then left the polling premise after the police departed and called again to election central at 8:47am to give them the details of what had just occurred with the police. Shortly after returning to the location, the inspector arrived. Sheila told him everything was good. I spoke to the inspector in private about what occurred; he told me I was fine. He then left.
Finally, at this point, an election judge from Precinct 14 approached me and asked me to sit at their table, join them for coffee and be stationed by them next to the signature verification materials. I positioned myself by Precinct 14 while keeping a close watch on Precinct 26.
During the course of this time and following lunch hour, Sheila and Amanda were gloating over the fact that they had me completely away from their area. They did not realize that I was listening to the conversation. During this time, I was helping Precinct 14 with issues regarding ballots, translation assistance and other questions they had for me. They were polite and courteous. They acknowledged they were thankful for my presence and the help I was providing to them with the voters. Sheila and Amanda were glaring at me during the course of this time.
In the afternoon, I spoke with Sharon Meroni and Debbie K about what had been taking place. I was instructed to contact election central again and asked for an attorney to arrive on the scene. I spoke again in the afternoon with election central at 2:31pm and discussed the fact that I was not able to inspect the touch screen voting machine and scan tron ballot machine for Precinct 26. I also stated again, I was not present when the poll opened to verify the zero count on the machines. Between 3pm and 4pm, I received several voice mail messages from election central about an attorney being sent to the location. They had incorrect information for where I was, as they thought I was in Ward 26 with Precinct 14. I called them back to let them know this information. A short time after 4pm, I received voice mails from Stephen F. Boulton. When I retrieved these messages, I was then told he was on his way before the start of the evening voter rush.
Stephen F. Boulton arrived at the polling location for Ward 33 just a short time after 5pm. I summarized for him what was taking place. We then approached Sheila. What ensued was a showdown where Sheila again made a scene with Amanda when the issue of placement of a poll watcher was discussed with them. We also noted the fact their voting machine did not have a proper seal in place. Sheila threatened again to call the police to have us arrested and removed from the location. Sheila and Amanda continued to make a scene in the presence of the voters. Then Sheila and Amanda accused me of favoring Precinct 14, telling me that Precinct 14 was engaged in illegal activity which I was not reporting. Sheila and Amanda finally quieted down after the police did not arrive. The Republican Precinct Committeeman for 26 asked me several questions about Sheila and Amanda. I stayed at the table for Precinct 26 from just after 5pm to 7pm.
The inspector returned a short time after Stephen F. Boulton left the polling location. The inspector explained to me that he had fully documented the situation regarded the issue of the missing seal. I also shared with him the indifference of Sheila regarding this missing seal for several hours. When Sheila had been previously confronted by Stephen F. Boulton on this matter, she stated this was not her problem. The inspector explained to me that Sheila and Amanda were not my “friends” and for me to “lay low” to prevent them from calling the police to have me removed; he also stated he did not want me to be removed from polling location before 7pm.
*Earlier in the afternoon, the inspector and I had a detailed 30 minute conversation regarding voting history, voter/election fraud in Chicago going back to the late 60s/early 70s, the political process, political illiteracy among voters and problems related to homeland security concerns in the greater Chicago metro area and throughout the United States. The inspector was a Republican based upon his numerous direct statements on political matters.*
Sheila was rude with me during the course of the time I was at the table. She stepped on my feet several times while passing with plenty of space to maneuver. A precinct committeeman who was sitting at this table for Precinct 26 during the 5pm to 7pm time slot was friendly and greeted the voters one by one, as he checked their names on the lists. He was polite and friendly to me. I assisted him with voters that had questions regarding provisional ballots and other voting concerns.
We had voters casting ballots until 7pm. Sheila had already begun tearing down the important election signs on the walls starting around 6:45pm while we still had a large number of voters. Precinct 14 did not take down these signs on their side of the room until after the polls closed. Sheila announced several times the poll was closed before 7pm. An election judge from Precinct 14 and I stated that the time was not yet 7pm.
At the end of the evening following the closing of the poll for Precincts 14 and 26 in Ward 33, the election judges for Precinct 14 were quick in taking down the equipment and printing reports. I was able to obtain the final numbers for Early Votes, Normal Votes, Provisional Ballots and Spoiled Ballots from them by 7:20pm. They had no problem with me looking at printouts and verifying the numbers for the day.
For Precinct 26, Sheila and Amanda would not communicate with me when I asked them questions regarding the numbers. They would not acknowledge my presence or look at me when I asked for this information. I was not able to obtain all the information until 7:55pm. Despite the numbers being printed and the information recorded. I had to obtain the information from two college age girls. Two other individuals, not election judges, who were volunteering for Precinct 26 stated to me that Sheila and Amanda screwed up and did not know what they were doing, that their paperwork was a mess and out of order. An unnamed election judge for Precinct 26 was in the process of renumbering all the applications for ballots and placing initials on the applications for ballots.
Sheila and Amanda demonstrated their ineptness and incompetence to be election judges. Sheila stated she was an election judge for 20 years. If this is a fact, this woman is a reflection of a poor training process and recertification process by the Board of Elections in Cook County. The lack of understanding of Sheila and Amanda for the voting process combined with their failure to understand the law was most problematic. Neither of them had interpersonal communication skills. They did not smile or pleasantly greet voters. The rude and impolite behavior of Sheila was directly noted by a voter who had her high school age daughter voting for the very first time. The voter directly confronted Sheila on the impolite behavior and handling of her and her daughter for requested information. I assisted this voter and her daughter to make certain their concerns were addressed satisfactorily.
During the course of the day following the first scene Sheila and Amanda created in the morning, the police were in the polling location three times to look around and look at me.
The fact that I was threatened by Sheila and Amanda to be removed and arrested was so unprofessional and unwarranted, not too mention representative of illegal harassment and intimidation. The fact that Sheila and Amanda would so readily make up information and blatantly lie about what was occurring is truly problematic.
Security cameras recording all activities in all voting locations
Recertification of election judges is not automatic and guaranteed
Review process of election judges
Disciplinary procedures and legal penalties for election judges
Permanent disbarment of election judges from serving who create problems
Termination of patronage selection for election judges in Precincts and Wards
Complete Overhaul of the training program in Cook County for election judges
GOP poll watchers and GOP election judges in all Chicago and Cook County locations
Commission of Inquiry established by GOP to work with the Board of Elections
Stiffer legal penalties for tampering and fraud in the voting/election process
Printed name tags and party affiliation for all election judges and poll watchers
Official business dress attire for all election judges and poll watchers
GOP presence at David Orr’s office in Chicago!!!
--photo taken by poll watcher of election judge Sheila after the polls were closed, with no voters in view, to comport with the law.