CHICAGO (CBS) — Prosecutors claim that in the Chicago suburbs they stopped a scheme to allow voting from beyond the grave.
As vote-by-mail requests soar during the pandemic, DuPage County Election officials are flagging some applications after noticing the names of dead people.
“Testing the process is not a game. It’s not worth it. Do not even try it,” said DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek.
Kaczmarek’s office contacted the state’s attorney, who is now investigating three cases.
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“The fear is that a ballot would then be sent to that person in that name and somebody else would fill it out and send it in, so that’s a concern,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin.
It is also a felony, punishable by at least two years in prison. So far no one has been charged in six additional cases from last month.
“We did not uncover sufficient evidence to support criminal charges,” Berlin said.
Kaczmarek said he could not discuss details of the situation, such as whether the ballots had been requested for people who were recently deceased. What she could say is that the seemingly bogus ballot applications only account for a small percentage of the about 200,000 processed this election cycle.
“Whatever the facts ultimately turn out to be, it’s at least evidence that the tests are working,” said Jay Young, executive director of Common Cause Illinois, a watchdog group. “Just my organization alone has about 1,000 volunteers out there.”
He said to his knowledge the problem is rare but will be closely monitored.
“I’ve already let my coalition know, so they’re aware of it,” he said.
DuPage County officials assure the election is safe. They say there will also be extra safeguards in place on election day for in-person voting.
CBS 2 asked about other possible cases like this in counties including Cook, Will and McHenry. None had responded by 5 p.m. Thursday.