Republicans say DuPage County voting machines give Democrats an advantage

  • A screenshot from a video posted Saturday by the Illinois Republican Party showing highlighting on DuPage County voting machines that GOP leaders say gives Democratic candidates and causes an unfair advantage.

    A screenshot from a video posted Saturday by the Illinois Republican Party showing highlighting on DuPage County voting machines that GOP leaders say gives Democratic candidates and causes an unfair advantage. YouTube Screenshot

  • Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider

    Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider

  • State Rep. Grant Wehrli

    State Rep. Grant Wehrli

 
 
Updated 10/25/2020 6:11 PM

Illinois and DuPage County Republican leaders claim county voting machines are giving Democratic candidates and causes an unfair advantage at the polls by highlighting their names on touch screens while voters cast their ballots.

County GOP Chairman Jim Zay issued a statement Sunday morning urging the "Democrat party officials who control the DuPage County Clerk's office and the Illinois State Board of Elections" to fix the issue before it damages the election.

 

And Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider called it an outrageous abuse of the voting system.

"Speaker (Michael) Madigan and the Democrats will stop at nothing to enact higher taxes on our middle class families and retirees," he said in a statement issued by the state party. "Illinois GOP volunteers will be handing out fliers in DuPage County to voters alerting them of this clear abuse of our election system."

A video showing the touch-screen operation was posted on the Illinois Republican Party's YouTube page Saturday under the title "DuPage Voter Fraud Alert!"

However, an official in the county clerk's office said in a statement Sunday that the text-highlighting and audio feature at issue is necessary for the county's 15-year-old voting system to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Senior staff from the clerk's office met with DuPage GOP leaders on Friday to demonstrate how it works, Chief Deputy Clerk Adam Johnson wrote.

"The system utilized by DuPage County is state-certified and functioned in an identical manner in the 2020 General Primary, and our office is unaware of any concerns raised at that time by parties, candidates, or voters," he added.

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According to Johnson, headphones and a touch pad are provided to any impaired voter who chooses to utilize the audio track. The audio track then reads the ballot questions and available selections while the accompanying text is highlighted in red.

Democratic candidates are highlighted first because they appear first on the ballot in each race as a result of a state lottery over the summer.

"Voters utilizing the assistance keypad can then cycle through the selections for each race, which are read over the headphones while the accompanying text is highlighted in red," Johnson wrote.

Stickers have been placed on every voting machine at the county's early voting sites explaining that the feature is for impaired voter assistance only and highlighted selections can by cycled through using the provided keypad, as well as reminding voters to review all ballot selections to ensure accuracy, Johnson added.

Nonetheless, Republican leaders remained skeptical over the weekend. Zay said Sunday he believes the clerk's office can find another way to assist disabled voters, and Republican state Rep. Grant Wehrli of Naperville, who is running for reelection to his 41st District House seat, threatened legal action in a tweet Saturday.

"Good grief. This is happening on every voting touch screen in DuPage County. They highlight vote yes for the tax hike and EVERY Madigan backed candidate," he wrote. "Litigation forthcoming."

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