CHICAGO — It’s not on a par with how Chicagoans used to keep voting after they died. Or with the curious case of the man in the 1980s whose signature wound up on a local ballot application – twice_ even though he had no fingers or thumbs.
But the race for Chicago mayor is providing fresh evidence that the city’s storied history for election shenanigans lives on. With Mayor Richard M. Daley’s retirement opening up the office for the first time in 21 years, Illinois authorities find themselves investigating allegations that candidates to succeed him turned in ballot-nomination petitions “signed” and “stamped” by notaries who didn’t actually sign or stamp them.
“The false notary, that’s a brand new one on me,” said Don Rose, a longtime Chicago political analyst who has worked on election reform campaigns.
Exactly 50 years ago, Daley’s father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, delivered big vote totals in the city to help John F. Kennedy win the presidency in 1960, fueling conspiracy theories that are debated to this date. In the decades since, safeguards have been instituted to prevent the wholesale vote fraud the old Chicago Machine once used to elect its friends and sabotage its opponents. Those measures include independent election judges, address checks and electronic ballots.