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Democrats reporting irregularities in 14th District voting machines
By Nancy Gier | Daily Herald Staff

Republican Jim Oberweis, left, and Democrat Bill Foster are vying to replace retiring 14 District Representative Dennis Hastert.

 

Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/8/2008 1:38 PM | Updated: 3/8/2008 1:53 PM

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Democrats began reporting irregularities in voting late morning today during the 14th District special election in which Republican Jim Oberweis faces Democrat Bill Foster to replace retiring Dennis Hastert.

Justin Major, a voter protection lawyer for the Foster campaign, observed that the word "Republican" flashed on a touch-screen voting booth at Pioneer School at 615 Kenwood in West Chicago as though it was a primary election. The ballot was normal otherwise and the word came up only on the screen. Paper ballots were also available, and no problems were reported with the use of paper.

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Major said the same problem was reported to him by election judges at St. Andrew's Country Club on Route 59 in West Chicago, at Faith Community Church at 910 Main St. in West Chicago, and at Wegner School, 1180 Marcella Lane in West Chicago.

"I wonder why the opponent is hitting the jackpot," Major said. "It really concerns me because this is such a tight race."

Major said he was told that technicians from either Diebold, the manufacturer of the touch-screen machines, or from the DuPage Election Commission had been notified. In one precinct, election judges had placed masking tape on the screen to hide the word Republican.

Amy Tauchman, new political director of the DuPage Democratic Party, said there are only 14 14th-District precincts in DuPage County. The majority of the district is in Kane County.

"They should shut down the touch-screen booths rather than allow this subliminal advertising," Tauchman said.