4 Judges Removed, Irregularities Reported In Chicago Voting

Two were removed for alcohol-related offenses, while one was a candidate on the ballot, and another was "being disruptive"

As Chicagoans headed to the polls Tuesday to vote in the Illinois' primary election, there were various reports of irregularities at polling places across the city. 

Four election judges were removed from their positions for different infractions, according to Jim Allen, a spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

One judge, Stanley J. Bartkus, was removed from the polling place because he was also a candidate on the ballot. Bartkus is running for Republican Ward Committeeman in the 19th precinct of the 33rd ward. 

"This person showed up and served anyway and that’s grounds for removal," Allen said.

Two judges were also removed from their posts for alcohol-related incidents. In precinct 3 of the 8th ward, Dirk Culpepper was removed for being under the influence of alcohol, while Dendryka Bennifield was removed from the 20th precinct in the 15th ward for being asleep with the strong smell of alcohol. 

Felicia Turner was also removed from the 38th precinct of the 46th ward for being disruptive. 

There were also a "few dozen" reports of voters being given the wrong ballot, according to Allen. These incidents occurred in a number of polling places that are split among 2-3 different precincts. Most were withdrawn, spoiled, and voters were asked to recast.

4-5 polling places also reported a lack of judges or judges not getting along with each other, which resulted in those polling places opening late. Voters at these locations said they would be able to return to vote later, so the Board of Elections will not go to a judge asking for the polling place to be held open late.

Though early voting and vote-by-mail broke records and harkened back to voter turnout in 2008, Orr said Tuesday's turnout likely won't reach that level.

"We do not expect to reach the 53 percent turnout [of 2008] or anything close to it unless there’s a huge evening rush," he said.

Numbers are predicted now to be closer to around 40% citywide.

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