In a sign of how close the contest for control of President Barack Obama’s home state is expected to be, Illinois Republicans are mounting what they call an unprecedented and costly campaign to have ineligible people purged from voter lists and recruit their own election judges before November. With their sights on unseating a Democratic governor and winning back several congressional seats, Republicans have allocated $1 million in Cook County alone — from fundraising and the Republican Governors Association — to examine voter rolls and recruit 5,000 GOP election judges to watch over polling places in Democrat-heavy Chicago. In two counties east of St. Louis, the party is examining obituaries to ensure the deceased are removed from the rolls and tracking down death certificates. They’re looking for addresses where utility service has been cut off to determine if registered voters have moved. And they’re checking to see whether people are voting from addresses for vacant lots or commercial properties. Similar efforts are planned for Cook County. State election officials say they also have noticed an uptick of GOP inquiries about voter registrations in at least two other counties in central Illinois.
Republicans say they’re guarding against voter fraud and responding to Democratic maneuvering to boost their side’s turnout, including adopting same-day registration and putting several non-binding questions on the ballot to appeal to liberal and working-class voters, such as whether Illinois should tax millionaires. The GOP fears outdated voter rolls and a last-minute Democratic push to the polling stations will allow ineligible votes.
“We’re not trying to silence anyone’s vote,” said Aaron Del Mar, chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, noting Chicago’s ” vote early, vote often” reputation for past fraud. “Everyone should vote. It should only be once though.”
Illinois Democrats, in turn, fear the GOP “voter integrity” campaign could echo initiatives elsewhere aimed, they say, at making it difficult for minorities and other traditional Democrats to vote if they don’t have required identification or there’s any question about eligibility.
Full Article: StAugustine.com.