DUPAGE COUNTY ELECTION WATCHDOG JEAN KACZMAREK GIVES NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE ELECTION COMMISSION FOR ILLEGALLY WITHHOLDING SERIAL NUMBERS OF DATED VOTING MACHINES CAST OFF BY OTHER COUNTIES NOW IN DUPAGE

 

I share Jean Kaczmarek‘s concerns with the lack of transparency and the circumstances surrounding the settlement between the DuPage County Election Commission and Liberty Systems. What was the rush to settle with Liberty Systems? Why would the Election Commission accept used machines as part of the settlement? How can the people of DuPage County have confidence on election day with old equipment that other counties tossed away?

ACTION ALERT! Today I filed notice of intent to sue the DuPage County Election Commission for illegally withholding serial numbers of dated voting machines now in their possession which were cast off by other counties. Please read the news release which follows below. Please contact the Election Commissioners TODAY to request them to RELEASE THE SERIAL NUMBERS. Here is the contact information:

Cathy Ficker Terrill, Chairperson cterrill@dupageco.org
James Lowe jlowe@dupageco.org
John Boske john.boske@dupageco.org

Leave phone messages at: (630) 407-5600

Date: Sept. 4, 2018

DUPAGE COUNTY ELECTION WATCHDOG JEAN KACZMAREK GIVES NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE ELECTION COMMISSION FOR ILLEGALLY WITHHOLDING SERIAL NUMBERS OF DATED VOTING MACHINES CAST OFF BY OTHER COUNTIES NOW IN DUPAGE

GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn resident and 13-year election watchdog Jean Kaczmarek gave notice to the DuPage County Board of Election Commissioners today of her intent to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Commission for illegally withholding records about the 118 dated, cast-off voting machines acquired from the vendor they have “a lack of confidence” in – namely, Liberty Systems.

Kaczmarek’s June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, denied by the County and currently on appeal to the Illinois Attorney General Office’s Public Access Counselor, seeks bulk serial numbers found on the outside of vintage, out-of-warranty Diebold optical scan machines.

Kaczmarek plans to use these serial numbers to track the origin of the antiquated, cast-off machines. These 15-year-old machines were provided to DuPage County under a settlement agreement among the Election Commission, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Liberty Systems, LLC, following DuPage’s nationally-publicized 2018 Primary Election snafu due to faulty ender cards provided by the vendor. A reported 167 machines were damaged when the ender cards printed on too-thick paper stock were fed into the machines during the closing out the polling places. Confusion and miscommunication followed. Consequently, election results in DuPage were delayed for hours.

The terms of the dubious settlement were not publicly discussed or voted on prior to the May 9th Election Commission Board meeting, yet the agreement had already been fully prepared. The agreement was omitted in the agenda packet. Contracted attorney, Pat Bond of Bond, Dickson & Assoc., who oversaw the settlement, said the Commission had a “lack of confidence” in Liberty Systems. In addition to all contracts with Liberty Systems ending, the vendor was to repair or replace the broken machines with “like kind” models. The Board also agreed to pay Liberty Systems $187,469.86 for supplying the Commission with ballots and paper poll books in the Primary.

“My radar signals whenever a government body handles a delicate situation too quickly and too quietly. This was no exception,” Kaczmarek explains. “What were they thinking accepting old equipment cast-off from other counties? Unacceptable. Surely, DuPage can do better.”

Some 57 machines were repaired by Liberty Systems, leaving roughly 110 machines purchased in 2001 broken beyond repair. In June, the vendor delivered 118 “like kind” machines to the Commission. Kaczmarek is seeking the serial numbers found on the outside of these 118 voting machines. It is unknown if the Commission plans to use the machines or any of their components in future elections.

“Where did these used voting machines come from?” asks Kaczmarek. “Were they purchased on eBay? From an e-cycling firm? Or were they cast off by other counties and traded in for new machines at Liberty Systems? Citizens deserve to know. It is clearly a matter of accountability.”

The Commission has denied Kaczmarek’s FOIA request, calling it a threat to election security and an impermissible disclosure of private information, but Kaczmarek’s lawyer, Daniel Massoglia, said that under the law, Kaczmarek — and ultimately the public — is entitled to the withheld records.

“FOIA stands for the principle that the people have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. There is no security threat in this information. If the Commission doesn’t reconsider its illegal denials, we will enforce the public’s right to know in court,” Massoglia stated.

“A lawsuit is a time-consuming and expensive exercise,” Massoglia adds. “Failing to honor the law now will leave DuPage County taxpayers on the hook.”

Kaczmarek, who has been scrutinizing the DuPage County Election Commission since 2005 and is the Democratic candidate for DuPage County Clerk, is taking action now because she sees it as her responsibility as a member of the public to shine light on whether the County plans to use dated, out-of-warranty machines in future elections.

“Why should citizens be expected to have confidence in old, used voting machines from a company the Commission says it has a lack of confidence in?” Kaczmarek questions.

 

Sunshine in Kane County – Overcast in DuPage


Yesterday the Chicago Tribune  reported the following:

By: Richard Wronski | Tribune Reporter | 

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, who publicly solicited applications from interested residents, released his “short list” Friday of 11 candidates for a Metra board position and also for the county’s vacant post on the Regional Transportation Authority.
More than 40 people had applied for both spots, he said.
The 11 are being reviewed by a four-member, bipartisan panel of county board members, who will review applications and cut the pool to three or four finalists.
On Monday, Lauzen is expected to select one Metra appointee and one RTA appointee, and put the names before the county board at its meeting Tuesday.
“We are making progress on a tight schedule,” Lauzen said Friday.
The eleven being considered  for the RTA/METRA appointments are: Manuel Barbosa; Donald DeWitte; Carl Dinwiddie; Edward Evert; Mary Fleischmann; Joseph Galvan; Glen Holland; Bonnie Kunkel; D.J. Tegeler; Bernard Thomas; and Jake Wyatt.
You can read the full story here.
 
The Chicago Tribune also reported:
Another DuPage County resident stepped forward today, complaining that he asked last month to be considered for an appointment to Metra’s board but never heard back from County Chairman Dan Cronin, who plans to name a fellow politician to the post.
Lombard resident Mike Corso said that as a 27-year Metra rider, he was interested in applying for DuPage’s vacant seat on Metra’s board because he was concerned about the quality and cost of service.
Corso, 48, who serves as a volunteer on Lombard’s transportation and safety committee, obtained a letter of recommendation from Lombard’s village president, and offered to forgo the $15,000 salary for Metra board members.
Corso sent Cronin his letter Aug. 5, and Village President Keith Giagnorio sent his letter of recommendation on Aug. 8, saying he had no doubt that Corso “would serve with utmost professionalism and commitment.” But Corso said he got no response.Approximately 30 people submitted applications for the Metra appointment, and “several” were interviewed, Pardonnet said.
Anyone who applied but who did not get a response from Cronin should not feel slighted, she said.
“There is no guarantee of a callback,” she said.
She compared the process to being interviewed for a job but not finding out the result until the final decision was made.
You can read the full story here.