By Mark Weyermuller -
Presidential candidate Donald Trump is claiming that America's election process is rigged. For some reason, his message is resonating. This is especially true in Chicago where the joke is "Vote early and often." They also say, "I see dead people… voting." You might remember that from the film "The Sixth Sense."
This year especially, this may not be funny. I agree with Mr Trump – our elections are rigged.
What does rigged mean? This according to my online dictionary: "Rigged is defined as something in the proper order for use, or is something that is fixed in a dishonest way to guarantee a desired outcome. A contest where the winner is predetermined beforehand is an example of a contest that is rigged."
As far as I remember, I have voted in every primary and general election, including municipals contests, since turning 18 years old. I have also been an election judge a few times. I have serious issues with the process in the Chicago area, which at the very minimum, has the appearance of impropriety and on the other extreme may contain massive voter fraud.
For example, this week I received these voter registration cards in my mailbox at my office in a residential building on the near north side of Chicago. Two of the cards were people who had moved and the third was a person who is deceased. The deceased person actually never lived at the address listed. A previous tenant here had a change of address filed to this address to settle their estate, routing the deceased person's mail here.
Is this a system to automatically register people to vote based on a postal change of address form? It makes sense to me that a deceased person could not fill out voter registrations or change of address forms. Yet, this is Chicago.
Another issue I have discussed is the number of polling places and how the equipment is secured. For instance, in the 1200 block of North State Street, there are two polling places across the street from each other about 90 feet apart. They say they are for separate precincts. I feel the more locations, the more potential for fraud, not to mention costs.
Every election, I see the voting equipment delivered days and even a week ahead of voting day. They are left in unsecured locations like schools and park district gyms where anybody could obtain access. The voting storage is often secured with a plastic tie that can be cut with scissors.
There are many solutions which could help make elections much more honest and transparent.
Showing a photo Identification is the obvious deterrent to voter fraud. It is quite unusual for anybody not to have a photo ID. In today's world, you need it for travel, entering office and government buildings, to do financial transactions, buy liquor and cigarettes, and receive government assistance. The argument is that people don't have them is ridiculous. Of course, a provisional ballot could be issued so these votes can be more highly scrutinized.
The truth is for everybody who fails to prove their identity, another legitimate voter disenfranchised. One voter who may not have a photo ID would be an illegal or legal alien who of course is not entitled to vote. This problem has been compounded by giving driver's license to "undocumented immigrants " therefore making them documented. An obvious solution is no driver's licenses for non-citizens or at the very least, the license should be a different color and perhaps printed vertically like they are in Illinois for drivers under 21 years old.
Another issue is early voting can lead to massive fraud. We have had absentee ballots as long as I remember. Why not keep that system as the only way to vote early. Same day voter registration is another potential spot for fraud as on voting day it seems impossible to verify if people are voting multiple times.
At this time of year we often kid about "dead voters" especially here in Cook County. In reality, it's not laughing matter. The county could easily purge these voters because death records are fairly well maintained yet they seem to have no inclination to do it. Again, a voter photo ID would help eliminate many of these issues adding honesty, integrity, and transparency to the process.
Today I saw on the news that it may be illegal to take photos especially selfies in a polling place. It appears celebrity Justin Timberlake is being investigated for taking a selfie while voting. It seems crazy, as we always see the candidates themselves photographed casting their votes on the TV news and print media. It seems odd to me we can photograph police making arrests and doing investigations yet we cannot photograph polling places to document any possible crimes.
Possible headline: "Mark Weyermuller arrested taking a Selfie."
As a journalist, I want to able to photograph the polling locations especially since it's a public place. My intent is not to photograph ballots but possibly people voting in multiple locations. Here's an idea, body cameras on all election judges? How else could we document fraud? You tell me.
I wrote about selfies at the polls last year here:
I have many concerns for elections and the voting process especially here in the Chicago area. I agree our election system is rigged and we need to fix it. Early voting is taking place now with the General Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man on the street segment" at 10:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Sunday nights 9pm-midnight on WLS 890-AM.