Moreno's 1st Ward win being challenged by Shaw and Locke lawsuit

Date: 
03/04/2015
LockeShawFinko

Ronda Locke and Anne Shaw are going over ways to present evidence

Anne Shaw and Ronda Locke, two opponents of incumbent Proco "Joe" Moreno in the 1st Ward Aldermanic race, filed a lawsuit, late Tuesday, in the Circuit Court of Cook County against the City of Chicago Board of Election Commissioners alleging mistakes and fraud in the 1st Ward election on Feb. 24. 

The suit covers mistakes and fraud alleging that they were committed in the casting and counting of ballots. They fall into the falling areas:

  • invalid ballots wrongly counted
  • valid ballots not counted
  • qualified voters denied the right to vote
  • persons who were (on the Election Day) not qualified voters in the 1st were wrongly permitted to vote in the election
  • pervasive electioneering throughout the ward from one candidate, Moreno

More details are listed below. 

On Wednesday, Andrew Finko, Shaw's and Locke's attorney, will file a motion for an accelerated schedule, though nothing can move forward until the Board of Elections reports the final vote counts on Mar. 12. 

The unofficial count of votes in the 1st Ward on Feb. 24 had Moreno, the incumbent, declared the winner by 72 votes. In Chicago, a candidate is declared a winner if they have half the number of votes cast plus one. With 8,112 votes cast, Moreno received 4,129 and Shaw received the second highest with 2017. Locke received 1,661 and Andrew Hamilton 305. As of Mar. 1, Moreno's lead was bumped up to 82, however, not all the ballots have been counted. 

In addition to ballots cast in early voting and on election day, there are absentee votes and provisional votes. The counting process includes checking to prevent two votes being cast by the same person. 

Based on the suit, it would appear that there is a credible chance that the validity of the count is questionable. 

Shaw said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference, "Ronda and I care very much about the 1st Ward. We have always been involved because we care about quality of life for our communities and we've known from the beginning that there are serious issues with the current alderman." 

"I entered the race for 1st Ward alderman because I saw too many decisions that were not putting the community first. My continued commitment to what is right and to the community compels me to join forces with Anne Shaw today," said Locke. "I stand with Anne because of the broad pattern of illegal electioneering actions by the incumbent’s team on Election Day and the hugely improper actions regarding absentee ballots, especially among our most vulnerable senior citizens. As the candidate that came in third, I will not gain anything by today’s filing of a lawsuit, but I am compelled to shine a light on what I believe to be a pattern of abuse and fraud. And we believe, whole-heartedly that with a full review, we will affect a potential runoff between the incumbent and Anne Shaw." 

With somewhere around 30 affidavits of improper conduct and actions, they are taking on something few do in Chicago. They are taking on old school Chicago politics. As Finko put it, "This [1st Ward election] is the old school approach to politics. There are some alderman stepping away from this. They are transparent. They step back a little bit for elections. They're not overshadowing anything. They make sure things run smoothly. They give the people the respect they deserve and they give the people the opportunity to meaningfully cast their ballots. 

"These candidates [Shaw and Locke] are brave. They are going against an entrenched candidate who has this machine operation and knows the system and how to go around loopholes and how to figure out sneaky ways to do things. If people could start getting motivated we could take back the democracy! It is these two people who are doing the hard work, which is labor intensive and costly." 

"I started almost two years ago to make this run," said Shaw. "I was not expecting this, however. I thought I would lose or be in a runoff. I didn't expect all this to happen with a 70 to 80 vote. This is crazy.

"It will be incredibly challenging, but people have the right to have their voice heard and the right to vote as they choose. We'll fight it all the way to the end. It's not my first time fighting with Joe Moreno and it won't be the last. If anything, I think there is still hope for a good future for the 1st Ward. Ronda and I are not going anywhere. We want to make sure that things are done ethically." 

Referring to widespread electioneering, Finko said, "It was one candidate…not a problem with any other candidates. They knew the law, they respected the law, they respected the voters and they respected the right of the voter to have some privacy to vote the way they wanted." 

While no legal actions can begin until the final counts are released on Mar. 12, Finko explained that the way the rules are written, Tuesday was the last day that a suit could be filed. The time frame they will have to force a runoff is very similar to candidates who faced objections about their candidacy. 

It took time and money to prove their candidacy before they could be on the ballot, with a very small window of time to fight and campaign. And so it will be with this suit. Presuming they will be allowed to continue by a judge, discovery will require a lot of people hours to comb through the documents and materials. Assuming they will receive a judgement in their favor, to have Shaw in a runoff, the campaigning time frame will be short.

Suit Details
Specifics of alleged improper votes cast for Moreno were by:

  • voters who no longer lived at the addresses where they were registered to vote
  • voters with addresses which are commercial establishments and/or do not contain residential living units
  • voters residing in the 1st Ward but registered at an address at which they don't live
  • voters not registered to vote
  • absentee voters whose ballots were falsely certified
  • absentee voters whose ballots were not certified
  • absentee voters who did not execute the affidavit on the envelope
  • signature on application for absent ballot different from signature on absentee ballot envelope
  • signature on application for absent ballot different from signature on absentee ballot envelope
  • absentee voters who failed to sign the absentee ballot envelope
  • absentee voters who failed to certify their address on the absentee ballot envelope
  • absentee ballots not properly delivered
  • voters who voted in a precinct in which they were not registered
  • voters who voted by absentee ballot but did not submit a signed application to receive one
  • voter failed to sign application for absentee ballot
  • voters denied the right to vote by mistake or fraud including but not limited to errors in Board documents, late opening, equipment failure, locked doors, election judge errors, et al
  • voters improperly permitted to vote in the precinct polling place on Election Day even though such voters' names appeared on listings as having been issued a grace period, absentee, or early ballot, without submitting their absentee ballots for cancellation 

Other allegations include improper handling, altering and/or removal of ballots from precincts and ballot applications and ballots which do not bear initials of an election judge. 

At Lathrop Homes, 2717 N. Leavitt, it is claimed that dozens and dozens of voters were influenced in casting their ballots or had ballots signed and cast for them without their knowledge. 

In addition, electioneering to vote for Moreno was claimed at numerous polling places. And, ballots and electronic vote counting devices were improperly handled, altered, abandoned and/or removed by persons in precinct locations who were not credentialed and authorized to handle, alter or remove ballots and electronic vote counting devices. For example, a ballot application spindle was handled and altered in the 18th Precinct, and a ballot-application sized paper was observed being placed into a purse. 

There are more allegations in the 25-page suit.

Related:

Comments

If politicians can rig

If politicians can rig elections there is no point to them. We have the right to vote because we get to choose who is elected - not so that politicians can choose themselves.

How Moreno sleeps at night is

How Moreno sleeps at night is beyond me. EVERYONE hates him and he keeps chugging along in his bubble of friends and cronies, oblivious to the reality around him. Meanwhile we all laugh and snicker at him while he's shit-faced drunk at many area bars. Stay classy Alderman!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Insert images and media with <pp_img> or <pp_media>. See formatting options for syntax.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.