Unlawfulness in Cook County Elections?
Key Sleepovers is when keys securing election equipment are given to election judges to take home before Election Day. In Illinois, these keys must have a strict chain of custody. The election equipment is stored outside the eyes of your election authority. Securing the integrity of the contents is primal to the security of the vote.
This is not a nuisance law. It is an important key to the integrity of your ballot.
The law requires the in-precinct election team to communicate with the election authority to verify election materials are secure.
No precinct election official shall break the seal of such envelope except in the presence of all members of the precinct election board, and such envelope shall not be opened until it shall have been examined by each member of the precinct election board to see that it has not been previously opened.
Violation 2 and 3: Ballot Boxes: Famous to Illinois law is the official act before any poll opens: publically displaying the empty ballot box, sealing it, and then declaring the polls as open. This is not an arcane tradition or one to be excused away because of ‘hurried” election judges. Just before opening the polls, we look in the empty ballot box as a public declaration affirming the very integrity of the ballot! The pollwatcher technically represents the public’s eyes.
In this training video, Equipment Manager Training Video (towards the beginning) Cook County instructors display how to set up the ballot boxes the night before elections open. This instruction is repeated in the two instructions manuals. (Equipment Manager Handbook and Election Judge Manual)
Has David Orr’s office instructed equipment managers to act unlawfully? They might claim: “Well, if a pollwatcher wants to look in the ballot box, they can.” But this response does not address the legal point. The instructions do not provide seal tracking processes for pollwatchers who want to see the box in the morning, nor authorize election judges that they can look inside after sealing, an act prohibited in other sections of the guide. This creates unnecessary conflict in the polling place.
But more importantly from a process perspective, the REAL issue is that the 5 judges are REQUIRED by law to view the box the day of elections, not the day before. “The ballot boxes shall be publicly opened and exhibited”. The public does not arrive until Tuesday morning. Shall be is not discretionary.
Perhaps the question is … When did David Orr change this law? Otherwise, we might assume that David Orr either has no knowledge of or regard for Illinois election law when he instructs election judges to act unlawfully.
Violation 4: Seals: The Cook County Elections does not seal or cross check numbers, they record numbers on a “new record of seal form.” So what good is this? The law clearly instructs this verification must be performed before the polls open, not later.
Violation 5: Who picks the person to return equipment? According to Illinois law, the election judge team does. According to David Orr, he does.
Violation 6: Un-Sealed Ballots: Illinois law is very consistent that voted ballots must be separately sealed before being sent to the processing centers. Voted ballots are not sealed in a filament such that they can be removed from the Blue canvas bag without disrupting the seal. The ballots are not sealed or signed at all.
Violation 7: Ballot Security: Election Judges do not sign or affix signatures to the ballots in the Blue Transport Bag
Violation 8: ALL Ballots SHALL NOT BE ACCEPTED IF PROCEDURES ARE NOT FOLLOWED
Violation 9: By failing to perform required measures to secure the ballot equipment, Cook County fails to ensure the security and integrity of the system.
Violation 10: Memory devices are returned to the processing center unsealed. A secure chain of custody is not kept on this critical piece of equipment at any stage of the process from the time it leaves the programing room until after arriving at the processing facilities following voting. We have not tracked what happens to the memory device after that, but will.
Violation 11: Election Equipment is not sealed after the election as required by law to preserve the integrity of the elections.
David Orr’s security fails at the most core levels.
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