[ Click above to embiggen: the supposedly “public viewing” schedule of Cook County Clerk David Orr’s activities; note the November 16th Canvass of Votes that was listed as “open to the public” at the Hawthorne Distribution Center…but in fact the Clerk’s Office would not allow the public to view what was happening there. ]
On Friday November 16th, 2012, the Cook County Clerk’s Office held what was supposed to be an open-to-the-public “5% audit and canvassing” of the 2012 election results for Chicagoland.
At 10am last Friday, I traveled to the Clerk’s Office Hawthorne Distribution Center warehouse at 4545 W. Cermak to observe what was happening and to find out exactly what a “5% audit and canvassing” was…but I was denied entry into the facility and the Clerk’s Office would not allow me to observe what they were doing, despite the fact that the Clerk’s Office website listed this event as being open to public viewing (see: last entry on calendar, for November 14-16th 2012).
In Illinois, both the state “open meetings act” and the statutes governing elections in Cook County require events like the “5% audit and canvassing” to be open to the public.
So, the question of the day is “What was the Cook County Clerk’s Office hiding on Friday November 16th, 2012?” when it barred me from viewing what it was up to in that warehouse?
I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out what, exactly, these people didn’t want me to see…or why they thought they could get away with preventing me from viewing something that is listed as being open to the public. This being Illinois, no one was quite sure whose office is responsible for taking a complaint about the Clerk’s Office not allowing a member of the public to view what it was doing. Chances are that not very many members of the public ever actually WANT to view these sorts of things…and poorly trained staff who aren’t accustomed to people wanting to see what’s going on could be an explanation for what happened.
Or, Cook County Clerk David Orr could have been hiding something.
Here in Chicago, when government agencies do something like this there are two options for how people can respond:
1. Do nothing and just walk away, letting them get away with it…
2. Invest the time and energy to file a formal complaint against the agency and FOIA everything related to what it was up to
I’ve decided to pursue this with the State’s Attorney’s Office, which apparently is who I need to speak to today. When I was first barred from viewing what was happening on Friday, I called the Chicago police…but they sent me to the state police, because they thought they didn’t have jurisdiction over a county warehouse. The state police sent me to the Board of Elections…but that agency told me I needed to call the Illinois Attorney General’s office; that office, of course, told me to call the State’s Attorney’s Office (which is where I’m at now).
The actual Cook County Clerk’s Office would not discuss this matter with me and kept sending my calls to the voicemail of their Public Relations person, Courtney Greeve. The actual County Clerk (David Orr) had a particularly rude assistant who called me “a troublemaker” and said “we encourage you to speak with the State’s Attorney if you like but no one from this office will talk to you”.
This is what it’s like dealing with the elected officials in the Illinois Puzzle Palace…and it’s why people just give up…and why officials like David Orr believe they can get away with whatever they want in this state.
Isn’t it time that changed?
I’ll document the progress I make on this today…and the days ahead…as I move forward with my complaint against the Clerk’s Office and compel David Orr to explain why a member of the public was barred from viewing activities that were supposed to be open to the public.
I believe that if you didn’t like the results of the November 6th election and you want things to be different in 2014 and 2016, then you have to start doing things differently and becoming more personally involved in what’s happening to our country. That starts with the place you call home, where you live. In my case, it just happens to be the most corrupt and obstructionist county in the country…where the people elected to office apparently are always hiding something. Normally, I’d just research and write about this kind of thing online…but is that enough anymore?
I don’t think so.
I think it’s time to draw a line in the sand and push back against Democrats in this state…and to file every complaint, FOIA every document, and attend every Board meeting to openly start calling out people like David Orr for their bad behavior.
This is my new hobby. I hope you’ll chime in below in comments with any experiences you’ve had where you live that might have been similar.
Welcome to the puzzle palace.
© 2012, Kevin DuJan. All rights reserved.
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