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Facebook Rumors About Tainted Ballots Untrue, Voters and Officials Say

By Ted Cox | April 7, 2015 5:06pm
 The campaign sign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel was removed from this inflated Uncle Sam in the 13th Ward.
The campaign sign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel was removed from this inflated Uncle Sam in the 13th Ward.
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THE LOOP — The election board cried foul Tuesday over a campaign sign suggesting Uncle Sam wants Rahm — and said Facebook rumors of tainted ballots were false.

A campaign sign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to be removed from an inflated Uncle Sam Tuesday, considered electioneering too close to a West Lawn polling place, according to Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

The inflated Uncle Sam, at 68th Street and Springfield Avenue in the 13th Ward, is usually outside the polling place, which is also a residence, Allen said.

"This is the first time it featured a campaign sign," he added.

Ted Cox debunks some of the rumors circulating online:

The campaign sign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel was removed from this inflated Uncle Sam in the 13th Ward.

Complaints prompted investigators to measure whether it was within 100 feet of the polling place, and they determined it was. The owner of the inflated Uncle Sam agreed to remove the sign.

Otherwise, Allen said, voting was orderly Tuesday. He said estimated turnout as of 4 p.m. was about 28 percent, including votes cast early. Allen expected the city would top theb 33 percent turnout that is a record low, and most likely top the 34 percent turnout from the Feb. 24 election.

Allen dismissed rumors floating around social media that ballots in the 15th Ward were being marked by judges in advance for Mayor Emanuel in his runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago). Allen said it would be clear to the voter that the ballot was spoiled.

"If someone is suggesting that the judges somewhere are trying to slip one past our voters, I think you're insulting the intelligence of our voters," Allen said. "If it were a conspiracy, it would probably be the least effective conspiracy in the history of conspiracies."

Voters at the precinct in question, at Kozminski Community Academy, 936 East 54th Street, also hadn't heard of any problems.

"There were no problems at all, totally routine," said Nick Walker-Craig, a Hyde Park resident and voter.

Contributing: Alex Nitkin

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