Despite Suspicious Robocall Voter Suppression Tactics, Hundreds of Voters Register and Vote

    Media Contact
  • brian gladstein, rey lopez calderon

Today marks an historic day in Illinois election history as hundreds of primarily African American voters show up at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center located at 43rd and Cottage Grove on the South Side of the city to register and vote for the first time.“Hundreds of voters are waiting to register and vote. Unfortunately, the Chicago Board of Elections was not prepared for the mass of people wanting to register and vote at these sites, including the MLK site. The wait for some voters have been over 70 minutes,” said Brian Gladstein, Director of Programs and Strategy for Common Cause Illinois. “Fortunately, most voters are patiently waiting to exercise their right to vote in this very important election.”

One reason for the long lines, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, is that a robocall was sent out to election judges telling them they did not have to work today. This was a voter suppression tactic and efforts are being made to track down the source of the call.

According the Common Cause Illinois’ Executive Director, Rey Lopez Calderon, “Common Cause Illinois is playing a crucial role as we have been talking with the election judges and voters to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote actually casts their ballot. For example, our volunteers are currently advocating for more election judges to be sworn in to deal with the long lines.”

“The most important lesson from today is that we need Election Day Registration to not just be a pilot program but, in fact, become a permanent program in the state of Illinois. If voters can register and vote in their polling locations and not just at these universal EDR sites, then we would not have long lines like we are experiencing today. And most importantly, we will decrease voter disenfranchisement in our communities.”

Common Cause Illinois, and it’s partners in the Just Democracy coalition, successfully advocated for the passage of HB105 which created the Election Day Registration pilot program that is in place today. Just Democracy was also instrumental in pushing the bill creating Online Voter registration through the legislature last year, and helped oversaw the implementation by July 2014.