Beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, polling places in the city of Chicago and throughout the state opened their doors for citizens looking to their ballots. While many people have already taken advantage of early voting, the majority of people will turn out on Tuesday--and what has been described as a "rogue" part of the Chicago Tea Party is convinced that Democrats will try to spoil the election in certain areas.
According to an email distributed by Catherina Wojtowicz of the Chicago Tea Patriots, Republican Bill Brady, who the group is supporting, needs 400,000 to 450,000 votes in Cook County to win Tuesday's election. Wojtowicz, who is under court supervision after being found guilty in June of committing telephone harassment in 2009, is reportedly on Brady's payroll and works out of his Oak Lawn campaign office. From the email:
BILL BRADY NEEDS 400,000-450,000 VOTES Cook County aka Liberal Hell, and if you think the tea party princess is going to magically sprinkle winning tea leaves on him to win, without your help... Well, you are wrong.
Wojtowicz's message, which is titled "LOCK & LOAD, PATRIOTS, WE ARE TAKING IT BACK AND TAKING THEM OUT!" raises another issue that has come up in recent weeks: voter intimidation.
From the Chicago Tea Party Patriots:
Mike Madigan will have 500 foot soldiers out in Worth Township and the 19th Ward protecting his home front this weekend. This. Is. Dangerous.
Plus, that lunatic, Toni Periwinkle[sic], has earmarked $400,000-$450,000 to defeat conservatives on the Southwest Side. She has also promised to round up members of the Purple Army, members of SEIU! I needn't explain that just because these people are not wearing Brown shirts doesn't make them any different than their brothers and sisters from decades ago.
They have been flooding the Southwest Side and we need to defeat them.
The message comes after Democrats and other groups have expressed concern over alleged voter intimidation efforts by Republicans and Tea Party groups. Senate candidate Mark Kirk made headlines after saying he would hire a "voter integrity squad" to monitor "vulnerable areas" in Cook County and other areas that tend to vote Democratic.
Then, well-known birther Sharon Meroni was allegedly recruited to hire poll watchers. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady told HuffPost Chicago that the voter integrity effort was nothing new--and definitely not an effort to intimidate anyone.
"We're not that sophisticated," Brady said. "We do this every [election]. . . make it easy for everybody to vote, hard for anybody to cheat."