Chicago election official fired

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A Chicago election official has been fired in the aftermath of a contentious election that has resulted in a criminal probe of disruptive robocalls and complaints about “irregularities” in handling ballots in the state treasurer’s race.

A division supervisor for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has been fired, said Jim Allen, a board spokesman.

Allen would only say the person fired was a division supervisor and not “a top manager.”  He declined to say why the person was fired, saying it was a personnel issue. 

But the firing comes amid complaints from the campaign of Republican candidate for state treasurer Tom Cross. A lawyer for the campaign wrote a letter to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners about “numerous irregularities identified by election monitors in the handling of ballots” for the Nov. 4 election.

“In fact, we are informed and believe that at least one employee of the [Chicago Board of Election Commissioners] has been terminated in conjunction with — if not because of — these irregularities,” lawyer William J. Quinlan wrote in the letter dated Thursday, which was obtained by Early & Often.

Quinlan claims there have been issues with absentee ballots, including errors in counting of those ballots and the discovery of absentee ballots in a closet at the board of elections’ “premises.” Some issues he notes regarding provisional ballots includes ballots left behind at polling places and ballots received after the Nov. 5 deadline, according to the letter.

Allen, of the Chicago Board of Election, said the agency “will respond point by point to the credibility, or lack thereof” of the allegations.

For now, the board is “busy processing the ballots that were lawfully cast by Chicagoans,” he said.

Cross and Democrat Michael Frerichs have been locked in a tight contest for state treasurer. 

A spokesman for Frerichs did not immediately comment.

According to Quinlan’s letter, Cross’ Election Night victory margin of 30,000 has since narrowed to “only a few hundred votes.”

But the day after the election, the Associated Press said votes had been counted from 99 percent of precincts, and Cross led Frerichs by less than 23,000 votes out of nearly 3.4 million. 

Cross’ campaign manager said on Twitter at the time that less than one-half of one percent of the votes remained to be counted.

So far, no winner has been declared.

Meanwhile, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has launched a criminal investigation into a barrage of pre-election robocalls that gave false instructions to election judges — a chaos-sowing endeavor that elections officials called “a serious attempt to disrupt” Chicago voting. 

Contributing: Fran Spielman, Dan Mihalopoulos


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