When it comes to election shenanigans, Chicago has been accused of just about everything. But invisible ink?
Twenty voters at a Far North Side precinct who found their ink pens not working were told by election judges not to worry. It's invisible ink, officials said. The scanner will count it. But their votes weren't recorded after all.
"Part of me was thinking it does sound stupid enough to be true,'' said Amy Carlton, who had serious doubts but went ahead and voted anyway.
As it turns out, Carlton was one of 20 voters at the precinct who were given the wrong pen to use. They were also then told, apparently by a misinformed judge, that the pens have invisible ink, elections officials said. As a result, the votes were not counted. But officials insisted there were no dirty tricks involved.
"This one defies logic,'' said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. "You try to anticipate everything. But certain things just ... they go beyond any kind of planning you can perform.''
By late afternoon, five voters had been contacted and told to come back to the polling place to vote again. And elections staff had left messages at the homes of the rest, Allen said.
Carlton and Angela Burkhardt, another voter who was told the same invisible ink story, spent a good part of the day calling and e-mailing the Board of Elections to get answers.
"I am furious and devastated and I just feel stupid,'' Carlton said. "I feel so angry.''