The Chicago Board of Elections has opened an investigation into “extremely serious” allegations of vote-buying in the 25th Ward municipal election, the board said Monday, adding it will devote “additional resources to the 25th Ward for the run-off elections.”
Of the five candidates vying to replace Danny Solis as alderman of his Pilsen-area district, Alex Acevedo and Byron Sigcho-Lopez were the ones who made it to the runoff.
Acevedo said he has identified witnesses who saw workers for Sigcho-Lopez’s campaign handing out Target gift cards on Election Day.
An election official at a Chinatown polling place said she saw it happen.
“As soon as they voted, they demanded the wristbands to show proof that they voted so that they could get the $15,” said the election official, who requested not to be named.
The election official said campaign workers for Sigcho-Lopez were bringing in voters to the polling place, some of whom were disabled or elderly.
The election official said the campaign workers removed their Sigcho-Lopez campaign gear because of electioneering rules, then requested affidavits to assist these voters with casting their ballots.
“They were literally the ones doing the voting,” the election official said.
Sigcho-Lopez denies the allegations.
“My staff and my campaign has nothing to do with these allegations,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
The Illinois Attorney General has also assigned two attorneys to investigate the alleged scheme, according to WBEZ.
Acevedo called on investigators to bring more resources to the investigation so more can be done ahead of the April 2 runoff election.
“I want to stand up and make sure the people know our ward is not for sale,” Acevedo said. “[…] This is very concerning, this is very problematic.”