Governors State Professor on the Case to Ensure No Voter Fraud
Governors State University’s very own Professor Fraud is on the case to prevent voting misdeeds.
Accounting and Fraud Examination Professor William Kresse was recently appointed to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Advisory Commission on Election Law, a 10-member, bi-partisan commission consisting of representatives of Congress, the president of the League of Women Voters, the chair and vice chair of the Federal Election Commission, election law attorneys, and academics.
As an attorney, member of the ABA, an academic, and a commissioner on the Chicago Board of Elections, Kresse was a perfect fit for the role and is working to advise both the standing committee and ABA leadership on election laws.
Recently, both the Chicago Board of Elections and the ABA Advisory Board have been working to ensure the security of vote-by-mail ballots and prevent fraud, a specialty of Kresse’s. While Illinois has been a No-Excuse Absentee Voting state for years, Kresse expects this year to have more mail-in voting ballots than ever before.
“Due to the fear of COVID-19, we expect the vast majority of voters to vote this way,” he predicted.
To receive a mail-in voting ballot, voters need to apply via mail or online. Once the voter receives their ballot, they can fill it out and mail it back or drop it off at a secure dropbox at 51 different early voting centers across Chicago.
Kresse described the strenuous process that the state is taking to ensure there is no fraud, including a signature match check. Similar to when a voter signs a ballot request form in an in-person voting center which is then compared against the signature on their voter’s registration, the voter will be required to sign the envelope of their ballot which will feature a unique barcode. When the center receives the mailed-in ballot, a machine scans the barcode and takes a picture of the signature and displays it next to the voter registration signature. At this point, three election judges from various parties vote on whether to accept the ballot or not.
If the ballot is accepted, the envelope is opened and separated from the ballot to ensure the privacy of the voter.
One concern of voters is the reliability of the ballot arriving to the center, an issue Kresse says the board has already considered.
“We have heard from people who don’t trust the U.S. Post Office. If you provide an email address when you apply for the vote-by-mail ballot you will be able to track when the ballot is mailed out to you, and when you mail it you can track when we received it. Otherwise, you can use a dropbox after you fill it out.”
Early voting and in-person election day voting will still be available and the polling places will follow social distancing guidelines. Regardless of how you vote, Kresse warns that the election will be a little different this year.
“One of the big things is expectations, we’re used to knowing the results by the 10pm news. Probably not this year.”
Mail-in ballots have to be postmarked on election day at the latest, and an official vote count will not be reported until two weeks after election day to ensure all on time votes have been counted.
Kresse’s advice for a smooth voting process? Fill out and mail your ballots as soon as you can.
“If you forget to sign the envelope, or your signature has changed and is rejected,we will reach out to you via mail, email, and the phone if the information is provided. But you have to vote early so you can fix the mistake if there is one.”
Despite the hesitancies, Kresse is confident that measures put into place for this year’s election will be effective.
“I am confident that we have thought about all the different ways fraud can occur and we have put in the proper measures and have done the very best we can in securing the integrity of the election. Now it’s up to the voters to request the ballot, fill it out, and send it back in time. With any luck, on election night we will be able to give an unofficial recording of the vote.”