Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago met July 25.
Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago met July 25.
Here is the minutes provided by the Commissioners:
Marisel A. Hernandez, Chairwoman William J. Kresse, Commissioner/Secretary Jonathan T. Swain, Commissioner
Lance Gough, Executive Director Adam W. Lasker, General Counsel James P. Allen, Communications Director Peter Peso, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Lorel Blameuser, Manager - Purchasing Sarita Villarreal, Consultant Bill Perez, Coordinator Hispanic Outreach Gary Rycyzyn Darrell Blue, Videographer Irish Sheehy
Helene Gabelnick, League of Women Voters - Chicago Judd Ryan, ES&S Nancy Sreenan, Clean County Cook County Rev. Janette Wilson, Rainbow Push Chaya Rubenstein, Clean County Cook County Don Olson Lora Chamberlain, Clean County Cook County
I. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 9:13 a.m.
II. Roll Call: All Members were present.
HI. Consideration of Agenda: There were no change.
IV. Approval of Minutes: There were no minutes to be considered at this time.
V. Executive Director's Report
Executive Director Gough reported that the 8^^ and 9*^ floor of the 69 W. Washington building ("Building") were out of power yesterday (7/24) due to a faulty transformer. CBRE, the building management company, has hired a contractor to see what caused the problem. We did still have telephone and computer service on the 6*^ floor, including the server room. While some employees used our cell phones, the landline phones were out-all-together on the 8*^ floor, and only emergency lighting was on.
There is a backup generator in the Building, but not all tenants are connected. Mr. Gough will check with CBRE to see if we can be connected to the generator on Election Days. Mr. Gough noted that our servers are on battery backup, and could be safely brought down if necessary. The Building's backup generator does not have the capacity to support the full Building, only critical services.
Staff is also looking for relocation sites for our contingency plan. We have had to relocate to other places after emergencies in the past and we need to explore some options.
Staff is continuing to complete tasks from following the most recent elections and is getting ready for the canvass mailing.
Audra Lewicki is looking into having the Board's Judges Manual written in "plain English". Hopefully, there will be a recommendation for the Board in a week or so.
A. Assistant Executive Director: The Assistant Executive Assistant was absent.
B. Communications Director
Communications Director Allen reported that in the past week, on behalf of Mr. Gough, he attended the meeting of the Large Jurisdictions group of the Bi-partisan Policy Commission. This Commission was set up by President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney to address voting issues that came out of the 2012 Election, particularly voter line management. There was a great exchange of information from all of the jurisdictions present. Costs were paid by the Bi-partisan Policy Commission.
The Canvass drop is scheduled to begin on Wednesday. On Wednesday we should have the most of it in the mail. The-remainder the following week. It's a mailing of Just under 1.6 million pieces - to all active registered voters. That's the first step in the process. There is a second mailing to any of the voters where their first pieces have been returned to us. The second mailing is a piece that the Post Office can forward if there is a forwarding address. We can expect, based on National Change of Address, data that upwards of 100,000 voters have moved. We can determine through the second mailing as to whether that was a temporary move or a permanent move. We had a good meeting with ES&S on preparing electronic poll books for the upcoming year. Our meetings will now be bi-weekly as we try to lockdown everything by early November. We had a lot of success when we locked down everything by early August for the November 2016 election so the goal for March is to have everything locked down by early-mid November. Right now we are determining exactly what equipment and what methods we are going to use to log in the voter.
We are making other preparations to our website and working on enhancing our security, so we are using some outsiders to look at our systems, poke holes, and try to test our internal and external website for any kind of vulnerabilities. Mr. Allen will have more on that to present to the Board in the future.
VI. Old Business
A. Infrastructure Projects and Changes in Election Administration - addressed above.
B. Electronic Poll Books - addressed above.
C. Voting Equipment RFP - has been issued.
D. Legislation - The General Counsel had nothing to report at this meeting.
Commissioner Swain asked about the status of the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) bill that was sent to the Governor Rauner. Mr. Gough answered that we're waiting for the Governor to sign it.
VII. New Business
A. Attorney Contractor Agreement between the Board of Election Commissioners of the City Of Chicago and Lasker Law LLC, with a term of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.at the rate of $250/hour. The other monetary terms of the agreement are the same as those of the previous agreement with the Board's General Counsel
Commissioner Swain stated that he was glad to have Mr. Adam Lasker who is a well-respected man in his field as the new General Counsel to the Board, and that he has some big shoes to fill following former General Counsel James M. Scanion.
Commissioner Kresse stated that the Board made an excellent choice with the new General Counsel. Commissioner Kresse stated that Mr. Lasker has the high ethical standards that this Office should have, and noted that Mr. Lasker had appeared before Commissioner Kresse, when Commissioner Kresse had served as a Hearing Officer for the Board. Commissioner Kresse was impressed by Mr. Lasker's legal knowledge, ethical standards and compassion shown to his opponents. Motion to approve the contract with Lasker Law LLC, as amended, was made by Commissioner Swain, seconded by Commissioner Kresse and approved by unanimous vote of the Board.
VIII. Legal Report
The General Counsel Lasker reported that he's off to a good smooth start and that Is thanks In very large part to James Scanlon, who had served the Board quite well for over 20-years.
Mr. Lasker also reported that the Board received the date for oral argument In the Sequoia matter. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Is set for Sept 15th at 9:30 a.m. In Courtroom 2721 of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. As has been the case In this matter, the Rock Island County Assistant State's Attorney, Patti Castro, will be presenting the arguments. Mr. Lasker, though not presenting, plans to attend the session.
IX. Financial Report
A. Balance Sheet and Voucher Listings for the City of Chicago - 2017
Appropriation -17-06 dated July 25, 2017, In the amount of $567,439.89.
Commissioner Kresse moved to approve Balance Sheet and Voucher Listings for the City of Chicago - 2017 Appropriation -17-06 dated July 25, 2017, In the amount of $567,439.89, Commissioner Swain seconded and the Report was approved as presented.
B. Balance Sheet and Voucher Listings for the County of Cook - 2017 Appropriation -17-02 dated July 25, 2017, In the amount of $425,870.00
Commissioner Kresse moved to approve the Report, Commissioner Swain seconded the Motion and the Report was approved as presented.
X. Public Comment
A. Chaya Rubenstein of Clean Count Cook County withdrew her Public Comment Request.
B. Lora Chamberlain of Clean Count Cook County
Ms. Chamberlain welcomed Mr. Lasker. She also had a Crosscheck. She also stated that citizens are concerned about divulging voter Information to databases Crosscheck and also to the Presidential Election Integrity Advisory Commission.
Ms. Chamberlain Acknowledged that while she had not read the RFP, she wants to know if the Board Is planning to lease or purchase machines. She also asked If funds for this RFP will come from the City and from Cook County. Mr. Gough stated that the funding will be coming entirely from the City.
She also asked if the public could attend the RFP pre-bid meeting. She was told that yes, it was a public meeting Ms. Chamberlain asked that the revised Judges manual have an extended portion on the roles of pollwatchers. Ms. Chamberlain gave Mr. Gough her card so that he could get back to her on that last matter. The Chairwoman stated that the Board has answered as many of Ms. Chamberlain's questions as it can at that time, but will provide follow up. Ms. Chamberlain again asked about leasing vs. purchasing? Mr. Allen pointed out that this is addressed in the RFP; that we left that matter open within the RFP for the vendors to make a proposals, with different pros and cons to be evaluated at that time.
XI. Executive Session
Commissioner Kresse made a Motion to enter into executive session for the purpose of discussing probable or eminent litigation as allowed under Section 2(c)(11) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, Commissioner Swain seconded the motion and the motion carried by a 3:0 vote of the Board. The Board entered into Executive Session at 9:38 a.m.
The Board reconvened following Executive Session at 10:11 a.m. There was no action taken during the Executive session that needed a vote or that needs to be addressed in open session
Commissioner Kresse moved to adjourn until the next Regular Board Meeting scheduled for August 8, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. Commissioner Swain seconded the motion, and the motion was passed by unanimous vote of the Board. The meeting was adjourned at 10:11 a.m.