County officials stress election integrity, investigate small number of suspect ballot requests in suburban Chicago

(The Center Square) – County elections officials are sending out the message that the 2020 General Election is safe and secure while warning that “testing the system” could result in a prison sentence.

DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek announced Thursday that her office had found several questionable requests for a mail-in ballot.

“My office and State’s Attorney [Robert] Berlin’s staff have worked seamlessly together throughout this election,” Kaczmarek said. “While voter fraud is not a widespread problem anywhere, voters need to be reassured that every individual application is held up to scrutiny to ensure that the election is fairly conducted. With over 200,000 applications for mail-in ballots received to-date and a tiny number of cases being professionally investigated by the State’s Attorney’s Office, voters can be reassured that the system is working.”

When the clerk’s office finds a suspect application or ballot, the matter is forwarded to the county’s chief prosecutor. So far, the clerk’s office has sent over nine cases.

“Of those nine, they’ve determined that six do not merit criminal charges and the other three are still in investigation,” said Adam Johnson, the chief deputy County Clerk. “It is a small number, but we take every single application seriously because that’s how voters know that the process is safe and secure.”

Submitting a false application for a vote-by-mail ballot is a Class 3 felony in Illinois, which carries a prison term of 2 to 5 years in prison.

“Testing the process is not a game. It’s not worth it. Don’t even try,” Kaczmarek said. “The Clerk’s Office will continue to work closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office to fully investigate and vigorously prosecute any voter or group who violates the law, even if they claim to be testing the process.”

In addition to added vote-by-mail safeguards, keypads at polling placed in DuPage County will instantly flag anyone who’s attempting to vote early.

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