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Some Voters Received Inaccurate Calls About Problems With Their Vote-By-Mail Ballots

There have been false-alarm phone calls to people about issues with vote-by-mail ballots when there weren't any, an elections board spokesperson said.

Election judge Jonathan guides voter Yas Ahmed as he submits his ballot at the Jefferson Park Library during the midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Voter Maggie Grossman said she received a scripted call from the Democratic Party of Illinois informing her about an issue with her mail-in ballot.

Confused, Grossman called a provided number for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, where a staffer said her ballot, which she submitted two days prior, had been received without issue, she said.

“That first call I got sounded like somebody who was just reading quickly off a script,” Grossman said. “It could be … too many cooks in the kitchen, but for me it was all just kind of fishy.”

Max Bever, spokesman for the election board, said the office has heard from voters who’ve received calls about issues with their vote-by-mail ballots when there weren’t any.

The erroneous calls can come from campaigns, nonprofits and lobbyists who are “trying to help people get their votes in” but are “working off call lists they’ve acquired that might not be up-to-date,” Bever said.

Yael Sheinfeld, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Illinois, said the party directly reaches out to voters who have been flagged for rejected ballots. The calls are based on data provided by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Sheinfeld said.

Any “misleading information was a result of inaccurate voter data from the board,” Sheinfeld said. “We’ve since been provided with corrected information, and will continue to reach out to voters to ensure they’re supported and protected as they cast their ballots and make their voice heard.”

Bever denied that any inaccurate data came from the election board.

“No data glitches have come out of the vote-by-mail process,” Bever said.

The best way to check up on a ballot is to reach out directly to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, which never calls or texts voters, Bever said.

Voters who might be confused about the status of their vote-by-mail ballots can call 312-269-7967 or email votebymail@chicagoelections.gov, Bever said. They can also visit the election board website here and enter their name and address to view their voting status.

“I believe people are reaching out to folks by phone in good faith to make sure their vote is counted,” Bever said. “This is not disinformation.”

Vote-by-mail ballots can still be submitted but must be postmarked by Tuesday, Bever said. Any voter who received a vote-by-mail ballot but would now like to vote in-person can bring their ballot to a polling place, Bever said.

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