CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 21, 2011. With a significant number of candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s mayoral and aldermanic elections and anticipating a high volume of Election Day complaints and inquiries, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will be stepping up efforts to ensure that proper procedures are being followed and election laws are not being violated, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.
The State’s Attorney’s Election Fraud Unit has already been fielding a high rate of complaints and general advice calls, particularly during the early voting process, according to Alvarez. With approximately 250 candidates on the ballot Tuesday and a hotly contested race for mayor, authorities believe that election activity could be at an all time high in Chicago.
“There are a significant number of contested races on Tuesday and we understand that when a large number of candidates are competing in close local races that tensions may run high,” Alvarez said.
“But there will be zero tolerance for any type of illegal election activity or political mischief. We have the authority to arrest and charge any person who violates election laws and we will not hesitate to exercise that authority.”
The State’s Attorney’s Office will be stepping up efforts to visit polling places to confirm that proper procedures are being followed and taking complaints and investigating election infractions. As part of the plan the office will:
Assign 200 Assistant State’s Attorneys to on-the-ground Election Day duty in all of Chicago’s 50 wards.
Operate an Election Day Central Intake and Dispatch Center to accept and assess complaints for referral to election authorities, law enforcement or campaigns.
ELECTION HOTLINE NUMBER IS 312-603-7960
Have Rapid Response Teams made up of State’s Attorney Investigators and ASA’s available to respond to calls that are urgent and require immediate attention.
Assign an additional 80 State’s Attorney employees (40 investigators; 40 ASA’s) for special election monitoring at Chicago nursing homes. Nursing home voting took place this past Friday and Saturday and will conclude on Monday.
Alvarez said law enforcement would respond to any issues with poll watchers and potential crimes in polling places, particularly in ward races with multiple candidates. Authorities will be on high alert for any disregard of election authority, attempts at vote buying, tampering with voting machines, unlawful observation of voting or improper assistance in the voting process.
“It is our hope that all of the citizens of Chicago will take the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday and the men and women of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will be on hand to ensure that the process is fair, respectful and nonviolent,” Alvarez said.
In addition to discussing Election Day activities, Alvarez on Sunday asked for help from the public in locating four “persons of interest” that the office is seeking to question in connection with ongoing criminal investigations into illegal election activity.
Alvarez said the office was not alleging that the individuals had committed any criminal offense, but was seeking to locate them and speak to them in connection with ongoing investigations. The State’s Attorney asked anyone with information on the whereabouts of the individuals to call 773-674-3020.