CITY HALL — The mayor and the City Council Wednesday called for hearings into the "malicious robocalls" to election judges over the weekend that disrupted voting on Tuesday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Edward Burke (14th) sponsored and passed a resolution calling for hearings, with the mayor demanding to "uncover what happened."
Emanuel called for an investigation into "how the list was obtained, who authorized the robocalls to these judges [and] who paid" for the calls.
"There's nothing more important than the integrity of the democratic electoral process," Emanuel said.
To that end, he sided with Gov. Pat Quinn in his initial refusal to concede Tuesday's election to Bruce Rauner, saying, "Every vote has to be counted. I agree with the governor."
Emanuel declined to speculate on whether Republicans or the Rauner campaign were behind the calls, saying, "I'm not going to jump to conclusions, because that's what the hearings are about."
Yet he made clear his allegiance was to Quinn, and not just out of Democratic Party loyalty. "It does matter who the governor is," Emanuel said. "We share common values and common objectives."
Emanuel cited Quinn's financial support for the Red Line and Blue Line rehab projects as primary examples, adding, "We need a partnership in Springfield that understands the critical decisions we have to make here in the City of Chicago."
Emanuel added that he has not been in contact with Rauner, saying, "It's been so long I don't remember when I talked to Bruce."
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners charged Tuesday that the calls to judges over last weekend, which asked them to take another training session or vote a certain way in order to serve as an election judge, led more than 2,000 to not show up at polling places, producing long lines at some precincts. Board spokesman Jim Allen called it "a new dirty trick," but said he could not taint returns by identifying which party appeared to be behind it.
"Somebody called with the intent to create confusion," Emanuel said. "Who did it? How did they get the list? Who paid for it? We have to get to the bottom of it."
"This is a federal issue," Burke added. "If my suspicions are correct, there are certain areas that were targeted."
Burke added, "I think there's enough smoke here to suggest there may indeed be a malicious fire set by political operatives."
The resolution specifically charges that the "malicious robocalls" were "intended to disrupt the election and keep vote totals down in Chicago." It charged the City Council's Rules Committee with holding hearings on the matter.
Emanuel also said the city had called on the Cook County state's attorney and federal law-enforcement officials to investigate.
Holding the vote down in Chicago would have benefited Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner in his race against Gov. Pat Quinn. WLS-TV Channel 7's Chuck Goudie and WTTW-TV Channel 11's Paris Schutz both reported Tuesday the calls were conducted by members of Republican organizations in the city.
A GOP spokesman said, "The Chicago Republican Party had nothing whatsoever to do with those calls. We do not know who placed them."
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