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Illinois Democrats Accuse Conservative Group of Voter Suppression

A screenshot of The Illinois Opportunity Project website.
Credit illinoisopportunityproject.org
A screenshot of The Illinois Opportunity Project website.

Illinois Democrats want to make it harder for outside political groups to confuse voters with absentee ballot schemes.

It’s a reaction to reports of a conservative political group started by radio host and activist Dan Proft. The group is called Illinois Opportunity Project, but during election season last year it sent absentee ballot applications under the name “Rock Island County Vote by Mail Center.”

John McGehee, the state’s attorney for Rock Island County says there were enough clues to notify federal authorities and the Illinois attorney general’s office.  “The post office told us that they’d been trying to get a hold of them for a period of time because these applications were coming in and they were piling up,” he said.

Yet, no charges were made. McGehee says voter suppression is difficult to prove. “[The Illinois Opportunity Project]  said, ‘Yeah we sent these out. We’re not picking them up very fast.’ See, that [alone] is probably not a crime,” he said.

Representative Silvana Tabares, a Democrat from Chicago, is sponsoring legislation meant to end similar schemes from happening in future elections.

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois. He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. He graduated from Macalester College. Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.
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