The head of the Chicago Republican Party is claiming the city reported thousands more votes cast than voters in the 2016 election — sparking a battle with Chicago officials who call the allegations overblown.
First reported by the Chicago City Wire, the Chicago GOP filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Chicago Board of Elections in January for a list of voters who had cast ballots in November. According to the party, the board responded with a list of 1,101,178 individuals, though its website reflects 1,115,664 votes cast.
“There should be never be more votes than voters—every ballot cast should be recorded against a registered voter,” Chairman of the Chicago GOP Chris Cleveland told Fox News, explaining that after receiving the data, the party “immediately” contacted the board for “clarification.” “This is either massive fraud or massive incompetence, but we have no way of telling the difference because they won’t give us the data.”
The discrepancy totals more than 14,000, though Cleveland claims it could be as high as 16,000.
Cleveland told Fox News he filed a number of FOIA requests—the original in January, and “several follow ups” for updated numbers.
“They ignored them,” Cleveland said. “They have been stonewalling us for six months.”
But spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections Jim Allen told Fox News the Chicago GOP’s claims are “patently false,” saying the data was not complete.
“They’re looking at a preliminary report from January, and just recently, in the last week, they’ve filed a request for an updated report,” Allen said. “They’re looking at incomplete data.”
Cleveland told Fox News he did send another FOIA request last week.
Allen said the initial data from January “didn’t include” a “post-election review of paper ballot applications.”
“Now that those are entered, the difference is like 30—and that’s the best accountability we’ve ever had,” Allen told Fox News. “Their claim is false and ridiculous.”
He explained that city uses an electronic poll book system launched in 2014, and, “We’ve had to go back and go through paper applications every election cycle since then, and the paper applications have filled in the gap every time.”
When asked why the Board has yet to set the record straight and make any public announcement, Allen responded, “Why would we announce? We’re only 30 off. We’ve had our best record ever.”
Allen said that some Chicago voter precincts were “100 percent perfect,” but admitted that others had “poll-worker errors.”
Chicago has a long history of alleged voter fraud dating back to the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy race — though the city maintains the numbers here are not what they seem.
But Cleveland criticized the “lax training” and “terrible systems” in voter precincts in the city.
“It’s a general incompetence they have in getting this straight, and now we have a 16,000-vote discrepancy,” Cleveland said. “At the moment they gave me the data, they thought it was correct, and that was three months after the election. It wasn’t until I pointed it out to them that they realized ‘we’ve got a problem.’”
Cleveland explained that based on the data he received, in 15 precincts, there was more than a “100-vote discrepancy.”
“We need to know what the nature of this problem is,” Cleveland said. “People in the precincts just don’t follow the rules, and they add up. That will turn an election very easily.”
Cleveland told Fox News that the Chicago board has an extended deadline of Sept. 8 to turn over the complete data.
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.