“On my corpse!” Kaczmarek responded emphatically when confronted by voters who were concerned that mail-in ballots would not be counted. She was one of the experts invited by COD to celebrate the signing of the Constitution with the virtual forum “Voting laws: suppression or prevention of fraud? Although there were many topics covered, one theme was echoed by each of the presenters: voter fraud is practically non-existent.
The moderator of the forum was COD Associate Professor of Sociology Robert Moorehead, and the panel included DuPage County Clerk, Jean Kaczmarek, Matt Dietrich of the Illinois Election Council, Ami Gandhi of the Chicago Lawyers for Civil Rights and Jim Madigan , a retired Deputy Director of the Oak Park Public Library.
The county has taken so many precautions to make the voting experience convenient and safe for everyone, Kaczmarek was so disappointed when people again risked their health to show up at the polls with their mail-in ballots. “Why were the senior citizens and the elderly and disabled standing in line for an hour or two in the scorching sun when they could just vote by mail from their kitchen tables? Despite the pandemic and misinformation about the validity of the election, in 2020, according to Kaczmarek, DuPage County saw its highest turnout in history.
Dietrich spoke about the vote counting machines and the changes being made to deal with the pandemic. The Vote Recording Systems Division is responsible for testing the voting equipment and systems. The issue of hacked machines and altered votes was a concern raised during and after the 2020 election. Dietrich explained that the main role of this division is to confirm that voters’ machines and systems are working properly. “They must first meet federal standards,” said Dietrich
The electoral operations division, Dietrich explained, is responsible for many of the changes implemented due to the pandemic that were already under discussion. “Some of these things have now become permanent,” he said. “Street voting is now something that electoral authorities are now allowed to use if they wish. ”
Madigan and Gandhi addressed the suppression of the vote. Gandhi explained how his organization works to prevent voter suppression and civil participation. “We believe that the right to vote is fundamental for a healthy democracy,” she said. “Our team strives to avoid barriers to voting and civic participation. It is crucial to find a way to ensure that everyone is represented fairly. She explained the steps taken to prevent the suppression of voters, especially black and brown communities. “Despite our incredible progress, locally and nationally over the decades to expand the right to vote, the racist roots of the system unfortunately continue to show up in our elections, resulting in large gaps in voter registration and voter turnout. participation. in Illinois, still impact black and brown voters, low-income voters, non-English speaking citizens, and voters with disabilities, among others. ”
Madigan pivoted the discussion to voice his frustrations with the two dominant parties and their efforts to prevent the other parties from being represented in the ballot. “The two major parties are working together in various ways to ensure that there are as few choices as possible,” he said. That leaves a lot of issues on the table due to under-representation, another possible reason some people don’t vote, Madigan explained. The things that are important to these voters are not the priorities of the Democratic and / or Republican candidates.
If you are not already registered, you do not need to wait for the 28th. You can register online at https://www.elections.il.gov/votingandregistrationsystems/register.aspx