This week, Chicago election judges have come forward to confess that the Republican Party tried to force them to vote in its favor. As punishment for refusing, those judges were removed.
These claims come from two former Republican Party committee members who were to serve as election judges – one of whom was committeewoman Charon Bryson. According to Bryson, the judges were called to campaign headquarters for “additional training” in relation to Election Day. However, no such training was provided. Instead, the judges were given orders to vote for GOP candidates if they wanted to remain election judges.
“They were calling election judges, telling them to come in so they could get specific orders to vote for the Republican Party. They should not be pressured or coerced into voting for someone to get a job, or to get an appointment.” [source]
To Bryson and many others, it was like the Republican parties were “buying a vote.”
“If you don’t vote Republican you will not be a Republican judge, which pays $170.”
The effects of this tactic were not only felt by the removed election judges, but the voters as they waited in long lines to cast their ballots. According to Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Jim Allen, more than 2,000 judges did not show up because of those calls.
The area’s Republican Party has denied any involvement in the calls. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), who was infuriated by the tactic, has requested an investigation. He said:
“What happened with the robocalls was intentional. As far as we can tell somebody got a list, a list with names and numbers, called them, not to educate, not to promote the democratic process, but to sew confusion.”
“Somebody called with the intent to create confusion. Who did it? How did they get the list? Who paid for it? We have to get to the bottom of it.
There’s nothing more important than the integrity of the democratic electoral process.”
Alderman Edward Burke agreed:
“This is a federal issue. If my suspicions are correct, there are certain areas that were targeted. I think there’s enough smoke here to suggest there may indeed be a malicious fire set by political operatives.”