Election Day: The other ACORN shoe to drop

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

GOP ill-prepared for tidal wave of union-backed voter fraud

A lawsuit Republicans filed over disputed voter registrations in Lake County headed to federal court Wednesday as the clock ticked down toward Election Day.

The lawsuit, initially filed in circuit court, alleges a Chicago-based public interest group and an activist submitted hundreds of voter applications that were fraudulent, incomplete or illegitimate in Lake County.

The state GOP immediately accused some defendants in the case of stalling because they wanted the case moved to federal court, while the other side blasted Republicans for trying to cut out voters in a county with a GOP congressman who is in a closely watched re-election battle.

It was unclear Wednesday when the case might be heard.

"What's most important here is that we don't disenfranchise potentially thousands of voters," said Citizen Action/Illinois co-director Lynda DeLaforgue.

DeLaforgue's group and activist Terrence LeNoir were named as defendants along with Lake County Clerk Willard Helander, who was named because as the county's chief election official she is responsible for making sure all laws are followed.

Helander, a Republican, already has asked authorities to investigate potential issues with about 1,000 voter registrations her office has received because of problems including nonexistent addresses or questionable signatures.

Republicans blame some of those problematic voter registrations in Lake County on DeLaforgue's group and Lenoir. Their lawsuit seeks to have voters registered by the two -- as many as 4,700, according to the lawsuit -- be required to cast provisional ballots on Nov. 4.

Provisional ballots are cast when there is some question about a voter's qualification and are only counted after the election when their registration is verified.

DeLaforgue said her group registered about 600 people in Lake County and that the applications went through a quality control process. She said her group would be cleared of any issues. DeLaforgue said LeNoir also did not work for her.

LeNoir was coordinating a project for the Service Employees International Union Local 1 that registered about 8,000 voters in Lake County, union spokeswoman Erica Hade said.

That project has since ended and LeNoir is no longer working for them, Hade said. A telephone listing for LeNoir could not be found.

Hade said they worked with Lake County officials over issues with about 200 voter registration cards that a union member, not LeNoir, turned in.

"We really feel this is very politically motivated," Hade said.

At stake on Election Day in Lake County is the 10th Congressional District seat held by Republican Rep. Mark Kirk. Kirk faces Democrat Dan Seals in a rematch of the 2006 election that Kirk won by a surprisingly close margin.


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