It’s Already Easy to Vote Illegally in Illinois – But Chicago’s Making it Easier

By DOUG IBENDAHL • March 5, 2018


Chicago officials have been busy telling everyone “look, there’s nothing-up-our-sleeves” when it comes to a new municipal ID card which the City plans to fully roll-out this month and next.


Called “CityKey,” this new form of photo ID can in theory be obtained by any Chicago resident. But for anyone who already has a state-issued form of ID it would seem to hold little or no attraction.


There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the new CityKey card, and most of that confusion is being intentionally sown by Chicago Democratic officials who are highly skilled in using illusion and misdirection to obscure their true goal. These are officials who have been honing their craft for years.


The CityKey is primarily intended for persons living here in ongoing violation of U.S. immigration law – so-called undocumented residents. The City is actually pretty up-front about that much. Similarly, the City is also fairly open about the fact CityKey is just a logical extension of the sanctuary city policy of which it’s so proud.


The smoke screen and disingenuousness start when the City has to explain why we really need an expensive new ID program. This is when they start spouting gibberish about checking out library books or riding the subway – when neither the library nor the CTA has ever cared about citizenship status.


Yes, apparently you will be able to put money on the card and use it to ride the CTA. But there is already a Ventra Card for that. And you’ve never needed, and will never need, an ID of any kind to ride any form of public transportation in Chicago (or in any city for that matter).


Saying the CityKey is about allowing all residents to avail themselves of City services is a half-truth at best. Chicago already bends over backwards to accommodate illegal immigrants. Chicago not only invites them to move here with the promise of “sanctuary” – once here they can enjoy free college tuition and free legal representation.


So in fact Chicago is already doing much to accommodate undocumented residents and to transition them into full City service participation.


In truth there is only one system where Chicago Democrats believe they could do more to make illegal immigrants feel more comfortable. There’s only one system that undocumented residents could be taking better advantage of, from the Democrats’ point of view.


That system is our voting system.


CityKey is just one of multiple tools intended to normalize illegal immigration. It’s just another way for a local government entity to send the clear message that it doesn’t view U.S. citizenship as a meaningful status that should carry any special rights.


After all, those voter rolls depleted by actual U.S. citizens fleeing the dysfunction of Chicago and Illinois aren’t going to just re-fill themselves.


The same Democrats who get the most hysterical over a handful of Russians sitting around making a few embarrassingly ineffective Facebook posts, are right now actively engaged in facilitating foreign influence into our elections. And not just in some haphazard, roundabout way like the Russians did with their little troll farm.


We’re talking about inviting foreign influence directly into the voting booth.


But the dirty little secret is that it’s already quite easy for an illegal alien to register and then vote in any of our elections throughout Illinois. Still, it’s fair to say that CityKey is a marginal step that further invites voter fraud within the City of Chicago.


Allow me to walk you quickly through the way voter registration works in Illinois. It’s a simple process and you’ll be able to see how easy it already is for someone to commit voter fraud anywhere in this state.


All you have to do is check out the Illinois Voter Registration Application HERE. No matter where you live in Illinois you use that same form which is provided by the State Board of Elections. If you register to vote by mail you simply send it into your local election board. That usually means sending the completed form to your county clerk, but a few municipalities like Chicago have their own election board. Similarly, if you go in person to register you’ll simply be asked to fill out that same form.


Next note that the only form of ID you have to provide (see Box 10) is your Illinois Driver’s License number, or your State Identification Card number. Alternatively, you can just provide the last four digits of your Social Security number.


Don’t have any of those? Not to worry. The instructions say you can simply substitute a copy of EITHER any valid photo identification; or a current utility bill, lease, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.


A full list of acceptable forms of ID under Illinois law is HERE. Note that in the typical case a person only needs to show any ONE of those to register to vote. Also note that the vast majority of those acceptable forms of ID will tell you nothing about a person’s citizenship status.


That’s right. In Illinois all you need to show in order to become eligible to vote is as little as ONE utility bill or an apartment lease.


But what about proving citizenship you ask. The short answer is that you never have to prove your citizenship. And no one is checking.


Federal and state law do of course require that you be a U.S. citizen to vote. But in Illinois, just like in almost every state, verification of citizenship is entirely on the honor system.


Note the first question on the registration application is: “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?” Then you just check the box, “Yes” or “No.”


No election authority in Illinois checks or confirms U.S. citizenship. It’s simply not what they do.


Our system just assumes that anyone here in ongoing violation of federal immigration law is going to be 100% honest when it comes to voting.


Yes the person registering to vote certifies under penalty of perjury that all information on the form is true and correct, but no one in Illinois is making any effort whatsoever to confirm citizenship status.


Once registered to vote, it is difficult to imagine how any non-citizen would ever be prevented from voting in the future. This is especially true in Chicago where officials crow about the fact they are not going to preserve any application information provided by anyone who seeks the CityKey card.


And this brings us to the reason for all the confusion surrounding CityKey.


Chicago City Council Latino Caucus Chairman, 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas unintentionally came closest to providing some clarity when he recently weighed-in this way on CityKey: “It’s not changing the state law, and there’s nothing stopping someone from getting a fake ID now and going to try to vote.”


Villegas is being a bit obtuse, but he’s actually right about that, to a point. Because again, a person doesn’t even have to go to the trouble of obtaining a fake ID or stealing a Social Security number to register to vote anywhere in Illinois. You don’t have to put in that much effort. You only need as little as a utility bill or an apartment lease showing your name and address. No election authority in Illinois inquires any further. Under state law as it’s written today, they really can’t.


Then you just check the box that you’re a U.S. citizen and you’re good to go. If you provided a utility bill or copy of a lease with your registration application you can’t be asked to show it again (or any other identification for that matter) when you go to vote.


So if you’re a Russian citizen illegally residing in Illinois you can just forget about lobbyists and Facebook troll farms. No need to fool around with that noise when you can actually have a direct impact on American democracy by simply voting in our elections yourself.


Will Chicago’s new CityKey result in more illegal votes being cast? Will we experience even more direct foreign influence in our elections? Will U.S. citizens see their legal votes further diluted by fraud?


The answer to all three questions is most certainly, yes. CityKey is being pushed by our feckless politicians precisely because they know darn good-and-well that it will make illegal aliens feel even more comfortable about voting illegally.


Those failed officials will of course cynically mouth in public their opposition to election fraud – even as they wink at the election fraud they encourage in their desperate quest for survival.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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