Allegations of voter fraud and voter intimidation in an Illinois county are being investigated by a local district attorney’s office, according to a report.
The Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s office, in a press release, said that “several” vote-by-mail applications apparently came from people living outside of the county.
“This unprecedented action was taken in response to reports of individuals from Chicago offering gifts to potential voters in exchange for a vote for Kate Cloonen, Hillary Clinton and others,” Jamie Boyd, the state’s attorney for Kankakee County, said.
Boyd added that the investigation is an “unprecedented action,” adding it will focus on vote-by-mail requests, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The Republican addressed concerns that his investigation was based on politics, but he stressed they’re “in no way involved in this.”
“Our office takes seriously the obligation to protect the rights of citizens to vote for the candidate of their choice, and to do so without undue influence from special interest groups,” Boyd said in the release.
According to the press release, Boyd said that Cloonen has won the last two general elections by about 100 votes each, “so this is huge.”
Cloonen’s opponent, Republican Lindsay Parkhurst, issued a statement that was added to Boyd’s release, saying that the reports are “incredibly disturbing.”
But there have also been concerns that Boyd has engaged in voter intimidation.
Union leaders and a former Democratic state representative said that voters have been “harassed and intimidated” by Boyd’s office and other local officials, including the state’s attorney’s office and the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office as well as the county clerk.
Steve Brown, spokesman for Illinois House Speaker and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, Michael Madigan, told the Sun-Times that Boyd’s investigation is more “voter suppression” by Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s party.
“They’re doing everything they can … everything that you see in the courts, they’re everywhere,” Brown said. He added, “They’ve been harassing people for weeks.”
Cloonen hasn’t responded to the allegations, reported The Daily-Journal of Kanakee County.