As optimistic as the Ellmers and Buerkle campaigns seem, the developments described by the campaign of Republican Joe Walsh in Illinois’s 8th district are pretty alarming, as they try to hold on to a lead over incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean.
“We are in the fight of our lives as we count ballots in Cook County,” says Nick Provenzano, the campaign manager for Walsh who is now signing his messages, “Spokesman for Congressman-elect Joe Walsh, Illinois’ 8th District.”
Provenzano offers a description of an exceptionally odd ballot-counting process: “On Election Night, there were six precincts that were still not counted at 1 a.m. We discovered that they had problems in the polling place and were moved to nearby Elgin, Illinois to count the ballots. At some point in the middle of the night all six precincts – representing thousands of votes — had been moved to Cicero, Illinois for ‘safe keeping’ . . . . We immediately dispatched legal counsel to ensure the chain of custody was not compromised and we have been chasing ballots ever since. On Friday evening, the Bean campaign approached the Cook County Clerk’s Office, requested and received a list of all outstanding absentee ballots with name, address, and phone numbers. As alarming as that was, they also asked for and were provided an exact image of a blank absentee ballot.”
“Identifying potential mischief, the Illinois GOP dispatched volunteers to track down these voters to ensure no foul play was occurring with these outstanding ballots,” Provenzano continues. “What they found was alarming. They documented their findings on affidavits and they were submitted to law enforcement for review.”
The affidavits describe one voter who had not lived at the listed address in the past 15 years; a voter who a caregiver said “could not respond to questions because of dementia,” and a group of ballots sent to a Clearbrook home for the mentally disabled in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
“We continue to have a lead over Rep. Bean as the Cook County absentee ballots continue to trickle in,” Provenzano says. “The deadline/postmark date for ballots to be valid was November 1st. Therefore, it would be alarming to have large amounts of ballots arrive in the mail over the next few days. How long should it take the U.S. Postal Service to deliver a ballot from suburban Schaumburg to Chicago? It has been nine days since the deadline has come and gone. If large amounts of ballots do arrive nine days later, we’ll let you know and together we can alert America to what is happening here in Cook County.”