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Board Of Elections: No Proof Fraud Took Place At 5th Ward Polling Place

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Cell phone video taken at a 5th Ward polling place purportedly shows an election judge advising a senior voter how to cast her ballot, but city election officials said there's not enough evidence to prove wrongdoing occurred.

In the video clip, someone purported to be an election judge advises a woman voter that "our candidate is Willie 'Dock' Walls," referring to one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's challengers. The judge then apparently tells the voter to cast her ballot for "Anne Marie, the other white woman," in reference to Anne Marie Miles.

Miles is challenging incumbent 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston. Hairston says she reported the alleged shenanigans to the election board because she believes it was a flagrant violation.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners sent an investigator to the polling place to interview witnesses and viewed the video. Officials concluded the video does not prove the allegation, CBS 2's Pam Zekman reports.

Otherwise, Election Day has gone relatively smoothly throughout the city. Four Chicago precincts will remain open until 8 p.m., after the start of voting was delayed due to election judges showing up late.

The four precincts are:

  • Ward 2, Precinct 25: Wicker Pk Fieldhouse , 1425 N Damen Ave.
  • Ward 41 Precinct 15: Olympia Park , 6566 N Avondale Ave.
  • Ward 41 Precinct 37: Olympia Park, 6566 N Avondale Ave.
  • Ward 48 Precinct 27: 1040 W Granville Ave.

Otherwise, Neal said the start of voting on Tuesday was quiet, with no other problems citywide as of 8:30 a.m.

"We have, by and large, had a good start this morning," he said. "It's been a quiet start to the morning so far, but no problems citywide to speak of."

Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson has called for an investigation into possible early voting irregularities. In a news release, his campaign claimed several voters experienced errors with voting machines during early voting, including one voter in Jackson Park who needed to vote four times before the proper vote was registered.

Neal said there has been no indication that early voting equipment did not function and the board has received no complaints about the early voting system not working.

"We've had no allegations that the early voting equipment hasn't functioned, and that would be a shocker, because we have so much staff on site that we are right on top of those problems," he said. "It could be voter error, I don't know, but obviously I'm sure the person was able to correct it immediately on site, and we have not seen that at all anywhere else in the city."


Approximately 90,000 ballots were cast during early voting, a 23 percent increase from 2011, but Neal said that is not necessarily an indication that turnout will be higher this year. He said it's possible that voters who regularly cast ballots at every election were opting to vote early this year.

"We just can't determine that," he said. "In some elections – for instance, the last presidential election – it was an indication that there was great interest in the election. Other elections, it's our usual voters deciding to change the way they vote."

Chicago Board of Elections Communications Director James Allen says he doesn't expect to reach the 42 percent voter turnout from the municipal election four years ago.

As we cautioned when the early voting numbers were coming in and we were setting a new high mark for the municipal election, we did not think it was an indicator of how turnout would be," Allen said.

Allen says he's hoping voter turnout will reach 33 percent.

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