Here’s what the alderman’s Facebook page told voters to do,
“Vote--you're eligible no matter the candidate, then put their name and contact information on the back of their voter receipt.... And stop by the Fifth Ward office and drop it off.”
The prizes being offered were all gift cards to local business like Starbucks and Walgreens, as well as $100 Visa gift cards, which can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted.
Sadly the practice is illegal.
FOX 32 showed the Facebook post to election attorney Burt Odelson.
"[This is] not okay. Not legal. It violates Article 29-1 of the election code," Odelson said.
Article 29-1 bans the practice of vote-buying, and carries a class four felony.
"That section is very specific that you cannot offer anything, money or anything of value, to entice someone to vote one way or another, or just to vote," Odelson added.
The local Fox affiliate, Fox 32, confronted the alderman about the Facebook post and the possible election fraud while she was on break from a meeting in City Hall. Here’s how the interview went,
FOX 32's Dane Placko: "You offered gift cards for people who came in with a voting slip."
Ald. Leslie Hairston: "Well, that is not exactly it."
Dane: "How am I wrong?"
Hairston: "The post is now gone."
Dane: "Well the post was up for some time."
Hairston: "And now it's gone."
Indeed, the raffle post had disappeared from Hairston's Facebook page by early afternoon.
Dane: "Do you understand why people became alarmed about this?"
Hairston: "When we found out we took it down."
Um. “When we found out we took it down”? This either means one of two things: first, when they found out about the raffle they took it down, which is preposterous since it was the alderman and her team who came up with the raffle idea, bought thousands of dollars in gift cards and then advertised it on their social media accounts. The second possibility is that they didn’t know it was illegal to pay people to vote. Which would make the alderman and her team… STUPID.
Let me help anyone who might be wondering about this… incentivizing someone to go and vote is called election fraud/voter fraud. The problem is that one party is paying people to go vote and the other is not. This disparity generally creates even more incentive for the voter to vote for the party that is paying them… so that in the future they may get paid again.
Get it? Vote buying is always illegal… always.
The alderman’s office later issued a statement saying,
"...my only intent was to encourage people to exercise their right to vote... There was no subterfuge involved at any time. It may not have been well thought out, but it was well intentioned."
The local election attorney wasn’t buying the alderman’s excuse. Here’s Odelson again, "It is a throwback to the old hinky dink days to tell you the truth when it was commonplace to buy a person's vote. When it was a big joke. But this is Chicago.”
Hey, don’t be surprised -- it’s the Chicago Way!
Read more at http://eaglerising.com/10650/democrats-literally-buying-votes-chicago/#fvGtcEZf2gCZKeuU.99