Select Stories

While reviewing the data from election season, we occasionally encountered a voting rights issue that was quite compelling. Read the stories below.

Unclear protocols for emergencies and special circumstances

Caller works at a transportation company and was calling for the drivers who wanted to know if they can vote at any polling place or whether they need to vote where they live and/or are registered. Told caller that, in IL, the voter needs to vote where they are registered and live, with some details.

We had a man here today in DuPage County, Illinois, who had been released on parole 3 weeks ago after serving his sentence for a felony.  He has no state ID. He has a photo ID from an employer but nothing with his address. He apparently cannot obtain a state ID without a birth certificate or Social Security card. He tried to obtain his birth certificate from Minneapolis but the application must be notarized and when he went to a notary he was stymied because he did not have an ID. One of our Field Volunteers tried calling his parole office thinking she might have some official documentation of his address, but she did not. The poll workers were very helpful and courteous and spent a great deal of time finding his non-standard address. They did allow him to vote provisionally and he was appreciative. He seems committed to getting these matters straightened out and registering for future elections.

Patient in emergency room wants to vote. The caller was the patient’s doctor calling on her behalf–she is going to check with the hospital to see if they can help. Doctor was able to get info about emergency ballot for her patient and was already at the Board of Elections picking up the special ballot for her patient.

Voter intimidation

Caller was told by police department in Chicago that unless voters are in the building for early voting by 7pm, they cannot vote. [This problem was eventually resolved by Chicago Lawyers’ Committee in collaboration with Chicago Board of Elections, Chicago Votes, and Black Youth Project 100]

Her mother and sister were going to use the sample ballot to make their vote but the people told them to throw the sample ballot away because they could not use it. She read the note that said she was allowed to bring the ballot. Her mother came home and said that she was confused because she did not have it with her. She said she did not vote what she meant to vote for. The same was true for the sister. The people said ” you don’t know who you’re going to vote for” and threw it away. She said that they did not observe other people with a piece of paper. She said that she was a minority and expected this to happen. The caller used the sample ballot at 3:30p.m. and let them know she was using a sample ballot and they said it was fine. The others went minutes before they closed at around 6:30. The caller asked a man about it and he said it was fine but they asked a woman about it and she said it was not fine to use it.

At polling place. Asked for her license. [Poll worker] trying to tell her that her signature was not the same. Escalated to [Election Protection] call center captain… [election] official agreed to call the poll workers to instruct them that they should not be asking for identification.

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