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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Another Typical Chicago Election

In my adopted city of Chicago where the well-worn phrase is "Vote Early and Vote Often," here is a summary of some of the antics that took place yesterday, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune:

- Oh No She Didn't!: "In Chicago's West Loop, an election judge was charged with battery after punching another judge at a Washington Boulevard polling station, according to police.

The female judges, whose party affiliations were not immediately known, were quarreling over procedures when one punched the other in the face, Central District Police Capt. Joseph Vaclavik said.

The judge who was punched, believed to be in her mid-50s, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for evaluation, Vaclavik said. The other, in her late 30s, whose name was not released, was charged with misdemeanor battery."

- Invisible Ink: "Later that afternoon, election officials shook their heads in disbelief as investigators confirmed 20 ballots in the 49th Ward's 42nd precinct were cast with inkless pens.

Apparently, the poll workers at 1723 W. Greenleaf Ave. told incredulous voters -- including one spouse of an election judge -- that the touch-screen stylus was actually an invisible-ink pen to fill out paper ballots, city elections spokesman James Allen said.

"You spend months trying to prepare for every contingency," Allen said. "Trying to anticipate every possible way people might be confused ... Then this? Incredible."

Even the ballot scanner knew better, he said, rejecting all 20 ballots. Each time, the judges overrode the scanner and recorded the vote as blank. By 3 p.m., only five of the 20 voters had been contacted to return to recast their votes.

Amy Carlton, 38, of Rogers Park said that all the judges at the polling place insisted they had been trained in the use of the pens.

"I've voted before," Carlton said. "I was thinking 'This is crazy.' But when someone in authority insists, what are you supposed to do?""

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