Chicago Dem Alderman Attempted to Buy Votes

• October 29, 2014 3:20 pm


Democratic Alderman Leslie Hairston of Chicago's Fifth Ward is under fire after she offered her Facebook followers the chance to win prizes if they voted.

Hairston's Facebook post told Fifth Ward residents they could win raffle prizes–including Walgreens, Starbucks, and Potbelly gift cards–if they went to the polls on November 4.

""Vote–you're eligible no matter the candidate," the Facebook post read. "Then put their name and contact information on the back of their voter receipt…. And stop by the Fifth Ward office and drop it off."

Election Attorney Burt Odelson told Chicago Fox News affiliate WFLD that Hairston's post violated the election code because it constitutes "vote buying."

"You cannot offer anything–money or anything of value–to entice someone to vote one way or the other, or just to vote," Odelson said.

When confronted about the post, Hairston seemed to think that the post was no longer relevant because it had been taken down.

"The post is now gone," Hairston said.

"Well, the post was up for some time," WFLD's Dane Placko said.

"And now it's gone," Hairston said.

Hairston has since apologized for the post, and claimed that it was "well intentioned."

However "well intentioned" Hairston's offering may have been, it did not get past the Cook County State's Attorney, who has opened an election fraud investigation.

"It is a throwback to the old ‘Hinky-Dink' days, to tell you the truth, when it was commonplace to buy a person's vote, and it was a big joke," Odelson said. "But, this is Chicago."

Published under: 2014 Election, Chicago, Corruption