DUPAGE COUNTY SECRETLY ACQUIRED ANTIQUATED, CAST-OFF VOTING MACHINES  OF THE DISSOLVED AURORA ELECTION COMMISSION

 

 

ELECTION WATCHDOG JEAN KACZMAREK DISCOVERS 107 ADDITIONAL MACHINES FROM AURORA;

 TWO USED AURORA MACHINES NOW AT GLEN ELLYN EARLY VOTING SITE

DuPage County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country and we are using old, cast-off voting machines. DuPage County is using antiquated machines from Aurora. We can do better and we should demand better. See below statement from Jean Kaczmarek

GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn resident and 13-year election watchdog Jean Kaczmarek discovered that DuPage County secretly acquired an additional 107 antiquated, cast-off voting Diebold machines – this time from the dissolved Aurora Election Commission. Two of these machines are in use now in the Glen Ellyn Early Voting site.

Last week, Kaczmarek obtained a list of serial numbers of equipment used by the Aurora Election Commission from the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBOE). She compared it with a list 1578 sets of serial numbers of DuPage County voting machines, which had also been provided by the ISBOE last month. She found 107 matches – 59 optiscans and 48 TSx touchscreens. Two serial numbers on touchscreens in use now in Glen Ellyn match those from Aurora.

Kaczmarek was poll watching Saturday after reports of touchscreen machine malfunctions. After reviewing serial numbers of just eight machines in Glen Ellyn, she found two Aurora matches.

“I may have discovered more Aurora machines in use in DuPage County, but the Commission’s law firm abruptly shut access of serial numbers to poll watchers on Saturday afternoon an hour later,” Kaczmarek says.

“I have been poll watching as an election watchdog for a dozen years. Until yesterday, serial numbers of voting machines were always available,” she adds. “The decision to deny poll watchers access was arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious.”

Kaczmarek addressed the DuPage County Board on Oct. 23rd after DuPage County Board Chair Dan Cronin and a County Board member had just emphasized DuPage’s ACT Initiative for accountability, consolidation and transparency. She urged the county to not use any voting machines or components that had been cast off from other counties. At the time, she had not yet confirmed that DuPage had acquired 107 machines from Aurora: she had confirmed that another 118 old machines were in the Election Commission’s possession.

After the Aurora Election Commission had merged into Kane County Clerk’s office, Aurora’s 2017 ES&S machines were sold to DeKalb County. The majority of machines DuPage received from Aurora, however, were from the early 2000s with technology from the 1990s.

“Our citizens got stuck with the old, old Aurora machines. Surely, DuPage can do better,” Kaczmarek adds.

Kaczmarek, who attends all DuPage County Election Commission board meetings, says that the acquisition of Aurora’s machines was never mentioned publicly. Likewise, it was never publicly disclosed that DuPage would be receiving antiquated, cast-off machines from counties down state as part of the settlement agreement with Liberty Systems following the 2018 Primary Election meltdown where 167 machines were damaged by too-thick ender cards provided by the vendor. DuPage accepted 118 optiscan machines from Liberty which were likely trade-ins from counties which had purchased new machines. Together, DuPage has 225 cast-off machines from Aurora and Liberty.

“Why wasn’t it made public?” Kaczmarek asks. “The Election Commission did not want citizens to know they had accepted antiquated, cast-off voting machines. This is the real reason why they don’t want citizens to have the serial numbers.”

It is common knowledge that old electronic equipment is not reliable or secure. Voting machines are no exception.

On Oct. 9th, Kaczmarek filed a lawsuit in the 18th Judicial Circuit Court in Wheaton against the DuPage County Board of Election Commissioners 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 Election Commission, seeks bulk serial numbers found on the outside of vintage, out-of-warranty Diebold optical scan machines from Liberty Systems.

“The State Board of Elections and other Illinois counties see no problem releasing serial numbers of voting machines. Even the DuPage Election Commission hasn’t in the past,” Kaczmarek says. “The Commission doesn’t want citizens to know that DuPage County has become a voting machine junkyard.”

 

Kaczmarek, who has been scrutinizing the DuPage County Election Commission since 2005 and is the Democratic candidate forDuPage County Clerk, sees it as her responsibility as a member of the public to shine light on the County’s use of dated, out-of-warranty, cast-off machines in the Midterms.

“I know more than any outsider about what’s going on with DuPage elections,” Kaczmarek says. “Despite the imperfections, nothing could keep me from voting. We must use the process before us. We must vote.”

Kaczmarek plans to vote on Election Day on a paper ballot.

First Day Of Early Voting Off To A Troubling Start

The first day of early voting in DuPage County has been marred with numerous problems. People have reported that the electronic voting machines are defaulting to the Republican Candidates and not allowing for a Democratic choice, the machines are dinging when only one vote is cast in the vote for two races, candidates are missing from the electronic ballot and at least 35 people have been turned away from the Olive Tree polling location in Naperville.

If you have any problems please report them to the DuPage Election Commission:  (English) 630-407-5600  (Spanish) 630-407-5608 and Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

The Daily Herald reports the following:

Some early voters in DuPage will need to use paper ballots

Robert Sanchez

Meghan Hassett, the campaign manager for Laura Ellman — the Naperville Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Michael Connelly in the 21st state Senate District — said she was contacted by voters who were turned away from the early voting location at the Olive Trees Condominiums along Bailey Road in Naperville.

While the commission sent letters to voters notifying them about the change, Hassett said the mailer was “very unclear.”

On Tuesday morning, Hassett called on the DuPage County Board to intervene.

“I’m here today to urge the election commission to provide paper ballots at all of the early voting sites to accommodate those in House District 41 who are currently restricted from voting early, except for two locations,” Hassett said during the public comment portion of the county board meeting.

Ellman also issued a statement accusing the election commission of “suppressing voters” in the district.

“We need fair elections for a functional democracy and accountable government, which means every registered voter in DuPage must be able to cast a ballot at any early voting location within the county,” Ellman said.

By around 1:30 p.m., the election commission announced that paper ballots were going to be available at the Olive Trees Condominiums.

You can read the complete story at the Daily Hearld www.dailyherald.com

Sterigeinics-More Misinformation and Half-Truths

Sadly, I’m familiar with dangerous pollution in this county. I spearheaded the effort to bring safe water to a little over 800 families in my neighborhood in the early 2000’s. While on the DuPage County Board I’ve been fighting to protect our citizens from health threats.

Our county is yet again in the middle of another public health crisis, a local business, Steriginics has been emitting dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the air our friends and neighbors breathe. To make matters worse there is at least one known spill at the site that could pose a threat to people on private wells in the area surrounding Sterigenics.

On September 18, 2018, during the Health and Human Service Committee, I asked that the county, in conjunction with the health department, provide private well testing for the homes in the unincorporated area surrounding Sterigenics. I followed up my request with an email to Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department, who responded immediately that her staff has begun to research the process.

During the October 10, 2018 meeting of the DuPage County Board Chairman Cronin gave a brief update on Sterigenics. Cronin said, “Karen Ayala with the DuPage County Health Department has been immersed and working with local, state and national  scientists and aggressively pursuing the facts and researching to find the most reliable test, we want to get it right.”

Ms. Ayala spoke at the October 10, 2018 meeting of the DuPage County Board Ayala said “on October 2, 2018, she issued a formal request to the USEPA seeking assistance on this pressing issue and followed up on October 5, 2018, with the USEPA in which they responded that they have gathered a group of EPA experts to assess any potential groundwater impact in Willowbrook.”

That doesn’t exactly sound like Ms. Ayala has been ‘immersed or aggressively pursuing the facts.”

I am putting this information out because I am tired of the misinformation and the half-truths that are continually being thrown out at the expense of our citizens who are very concerned about their health.

On October 2, 2018, I sent information to Karen Ayala regarding the types of testing that can be done to detect ethylene glycol, the information was provided to me by Mike Joyce, Mike used to work with the USEPA and was very involved with the water contamination in Downers Grove.

Below is the email chain between myself and the county staff:

Thu 04/10, 09:10
Hi Liz –
 
Thanks for the testing information that you sent the other day.  Karen and I have been reviewing the information that was contained in the email.  Any chance that you might have found a reliable test for Ethylene Oxide?  We are struggling to find any reliable tests for this compound.
 
Thanks
 
Nick
 
Nicholas Kottmeyer, P.E.
Director of Public Works and Operations
DuPage County
On October 5, 2018 I sent the below response:
Fri 05/10, 11:39

Thanks Liz for the information— do they conduct tests on ethylene oxide?
Karen J Ayala
Please excuse brevity and typos.
Sent on iPhone.

Erroneous Information Removed From DuPage County Website

After a week of having erroneous information on its website DuPage County finally pulls news release at my request.

In order to address the public’s concerns about Sterigenics, the company that has poisoned the air in Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics for over thirty years, DuPage County set up a link as a source of information. That’s admirable as long as the information provided is accurate.

On October 2, 2018 DuPage County published a statement under the Sterigenics link.

Statement Regarding Action by Illinois E.P.A.

After calling for the shutdown of the Sterigenics Willowbrook facility for weeks, today DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin was pleased to report that his communication with Governor Rauner and the Illinois Protection Agency has led to the temporary shutdown of the facility. Cronin said:

”I am pleased that the Governor has answered my call to shut down Sterigenics of Willowbrook while state and federal environmental officials can complete testing and determine whether the air our residents breathe is safe. Together with Senator John Curran and County Board Member Greg Hart, I will continue to press the company and the authorities regulating Sterigenics to act on behalf of the communities involved. I will continue to support legislation that closely supervised the permitting of Sterigenics and promote open dialogue with the residents.”

That’s a powerful statement. The statement was not true. The statement was careless and reckless. The people in Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics have been on an emotional roller coaster and this statement lead to confusion and dismay as some were celebrating the shut down of the facility only to realize the facility had not been shut down and continues to conduct business as usual.

I spoke about the importance of providing accurate information to the public and requested that the statement be removed from the Sterigenics link.

 

 

Sterigenics link can be found here.

The Story of Sterigenics

Sadly, I’m familiar with dangerous pollution in this county. I spearheaded the effort to bring safe water to a little over 800 families in the early 2000’s. While on the DuPage County Board I’ve been fighting to protect our citizens from health threats.

Our county is yet again in the middle of another public health crisis, a local business, Steriginics has been emitting dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the air our friends and neighbors breathe.

The moment I heard that the Illinois EPA decided that there “isn’t an immediate health crisis,” something Republicans, including Governor Rauner have repeated… I was reminded of the ordeal my family went through when we learned our water had been poisoned. They were wrong. And people got sick.

Please take a few minutes to watch this powerful video and share.

Stop Sterigenics will have a booth at the GOTV Concert today at the DuPage County Fairgrounds from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there.

 

Local Emergency Planning Committee – Stop Sterigenics

During yesterday’s meeting of DuPage County’s Judicial Public Safety Committee I brought up the concerns of the residents of Willowbrook and the area surrounding Sterigenics had regarding the explosive nature of ethylene oxide. There’ll be a meeting of the  Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).  The meeting is open to the public.  Meeting information is below:

 

Local Emergency Planning Committee

November 20, 2018

1:30 pm

OEM Chapel

418 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, Il

Rauner Has The Power To Shut Down Sterigenics – DuPage County Needs To Call On The Governor To Do His Job

Governor Rauner has the authority to shut down Sterigenics and during today’s meeting of the DuPage County Board I asked my colleagues to call on the governor to take action, he has the authority to do what needs to be done. He can shut it down.  At a minimum he should be calling for a task force which would include the EPA, DuPage County, the municipalities and the citizens.

 

The Chicago Tribune reports the following:

Trump, Rauner have the power to shut down a toxic Willowbrook plant. Will they use it?

Michael Hawthorne

Air pollution within legal limits can still be dangerous. With the Nov. 6 election just two months away, residents in traditionally Republican communities near Sterigenics are clamoring for a more aggressive response from local, state and federal officials. Yet quick action is unlikely for a variety of reasons.

READ MORE: High cancer risk in southeast DuPage County linked to company co-owned by Rauner’s former firm »

Ideas floated so far by local elected officials — introducing legislation, passing resolutions, calling to revoke the company’s permit — either offer little leverage against the company or would take months, if not years, to wind through the legislature and courts.

Another option is buried in the same permit that allows Sterigenics to pollute surrounding neighborhoods. Written in obscure legal language, it gives Rauner — or President Donald Trump’s administration — authority to declare the DuPage County facility a threat to public health and seek a court order to immediately shut it down.

You can read the full story here.

You can watch the meeting here.

 

 

 

Lipinski Calls on U.S. EPA to Demonstrate That Emissions from Sterigenics Are Not a Public Health Threat

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“I haven’t seen any statements from the other side the isle, the Democrats, the higher ups.” -Dan Cronin DuPage County Board Chairman

Lipinski Calls on U.S. EPA to Demonstrate That Emissions from Sterigenics Are Not a Public Health Threat or Use Its Authority to Shut Down Plant

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take additional steps to address public health concerns stemming from emissions of ethylene oxide – a known carcinogen – from the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook.  In a new letter to Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the U.S. EPA, Lipinski calls for immediate action by the agency to demonstrate that the emissions of ethylene oxide from the plant are no longer a threat to public health or use its authority under Section 303 of the Clean Air Act to shut down the plant.

Since 1984, Sterigenics’ Willowbrook facility has been using ethylene oxide to sterilize medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and food products.  Last month, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report stating that residents who live near the Sterigenics plant are at an increased risk of cancer and other health problems, including neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal effects, as a result of ethylene oxide emissions.  This report has justifiably shocked, angered, and led to additional questions from various stakeholders, including, most importantly, residents from the southwestern suburbs around the plant.

“Looking at the map showing the increased cancer risks faced by people who live around this plant not only in Willowbrook, but in Indian Head Park, Burr Ridge, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Darien, Countryside, La Grange, and Westmont is frightening,” stated Rep. Lipinski.  “Although Sterigenics has followed state and federal laws, we now know that these laws are insufficient to protect the public’s health.  This is an example of regulations not keeping up with science.

“That’s why I’m asking the EPA to take action now to assess the degree of the health risk and shut down the facility if necessary,” continued Lipinski.  “I am also asking that ethylene oxide monitors be installed that can detect harmful levels and warn the public in the future.  The health, safety, and overall quality of life of the large population of people that live, work, and go to school near Sterigenics must come first.”

In May of this year, the EPA conducted testing in the neighborhoods around the Sterigenics facility and found levels of ethylene oxide that posed an increased cancer risk.  The venting of small amounts of ethylene oxide was allowed under state and federal law, in part because the EPA’s estimate of the cancer-causing potential of the gas was out of date.  In 2016, the EPA updated its estimate, last updated in 1985, finding that ethylene oxide poses a 30 times greater cancer risk than previously thought.  In July, the company upgraded its ventilation system to end the practice of venting directly to the outside air.  They claim this change will reduce emissions by 90%.

EPA Sterigenics Lettter (09/24/1811:45 AMET )

DUCKWORTH, DURBIN AND FOSTER ASK EPA & STERIGENICS TO TEST AIR QUALITY

 “I haven’t seen any statements from the other side the isle, the Democrats, the higher ups.” -Dan Cronin DuPage County Board Chairman

Duckworth, Durbin & Foster Ask EPA & Sterigenics to Test Air Quality in Willowbrook for Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Sep 25, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL-11) wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to Willowbrook-based Sterigenics asking them both to immediately conduct testing for local air quality for emissions of ethylene oxide, which has been found to cause cancer and is classified by the EPA as a known carcinogen. Sterigenics uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical products and equipment. The Members of Congress requested the EPA and Sterigenics make their results available to the general public and that the company also provide personal exposure tests to Willowbrook residents.

“A recent investigation on the air quality in Willowbrook has led to concerns that Sterigenics operations could be adversely affecting public health,” the Members of Congress wrote. The EPA must monitor the ambient air at Sterigenics and ensure that data is publicly accessible. This transparencywill help Willowbrook residents and workers at the facility determine whether a public health risk exists and go a long way in reassuring the community that the information being relayed to them is accurate and without bias.”

The Members of Congress also asked the EPA to conduct testing for ethylene oxide emissions at facilities across the country that use the dangerous chemical as well as explain why a report on the public health hazards and elevated cancer risks posed by Sterigenics’ ethylene oxide emissions was abruptly removed from the EPA’s website, noting how that has caused confusion, anxiety and hardship on the neighboring community. The report was produced by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the 2014 National Air Toxins Assessment map, residents of Willowbrook have the second highest risk of cancer of any community in the country.

A copy of the letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp is available online here. A copy of the letter to Sterigenics Senior Vice President Kathleen Hoffman is available online here.

DISRICT 2 BOARD MEMBERS WILL BE ADDED TO RESOLUTION CB-R-0875-18 – STERIGENICS

Below is the original copy of Resolution CB-R-0875-18. Resolution CB-R-0875-18 is the resolution regarding the operation of the Sterigenics Willowbrook Facility.

Sterigenics Corporate Headquarters is located in Oak Brook, which is in District 2. The resolution will be amended, on my recommendation, to include District 2 County Board Members.

I believe that it is important to send a message to Sterigenics that the representatives in their home district do not approve of their past safety history and that the health and safety of the people in Dupage is our priority.

This is how we #buildabetterdupage