SPRINGFIELD - You've heard those jokes about Illinois corruption, haven't you?
"Shocking news out of Illinois today. Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges, including the allegation that he was selling Barack Obama's vacant senate seat. Now, I personally am surprised Obama even needed a seat. I thought he just levitated." -- Stephen Colbert
"But you know what he was doing? Because Barack Obama is the President-elect who used to be one of the senators from Illinois, Blagojevich has got to appoint a senator. So he was calling up people, saying, 'Would you like to be a senator. Well, what's it worth to you?' Well, I just hope to God this doesn't tarnish the fine reputation of Illinois politics." -- David Letterman
Illinois is often the brunt of late night show jokes about political corruption, voter fraud, election stealing and candidate hustling. But little known by volunteers involved in Illinois elections is the list of specific activities that the Illinois Election Code prohibits, many of which are punishable as Class 4 felonies.
Class 4 felonies are punishable by one to three years imprisonment with fines up to $25,000. Few Class 4 felons serve time in prison due to suspended prison sentences or probation.
But there are other prices to pay for being convicted of a Class 4 felony. Among other restrictions, a person convicted of a felony in Illinois may not be able to get a job with the state. He or she is also banned from obtaining a FOID card, which could jeopardize the careers of anyone in law enforcement - including security guards, private investigators or police.
Illinois election prohibitions considered Class 4 felonies include:
Sec. 29-1. Vote buying.
Sec. 29-2. Promise for vote.
Sec. 29-3. Selling of vote.
Sec. 29-4. Prevention of voting or candidate support.
Any person who, by force, intimidation, threat, deception or forgery, knowingly prevents any other person from (a) registering to vote, or (b) lawfully voting, supporting or opposing the nomination or election of any person for public office or any public question voted upon at any election, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.
Sec. 29-5. Voting more than once.
Sec. 29-6. Mutilation of election materials.
Any person who knowingly destroys, mutilates, defaces, falsifies, forges, conceals or removes any record, register of voters, affidavit, return or statement of votes, certificate, tally sheet, ballot, or any other document or computer program which (a) is used or to be preserved for use in connection with registration, or (b) is used or to be preserved for use in connection with any election pursuant to this Code, except as permitted by provisions of this Code, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony and shall also be ineligible for public employment for a period of 5 years immediately following the completion of his or her sentence.
Sec. 29-7. Tampering with voting machines.
Sec. 29-8. Ballot box stuffing.
Sec. 29-9. Unlawful observation of voting.
Sec. 29-10. Perjury.
(a) Any person who makes a false statement, material to the issue or point in question, which he does not believe to be true, in any affidavit, certificate or sworn oral declaration required by any provision of this Code shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony.
Sec. 29-11. Failure to comply with order of election authority.
Sec. 29-12. Disregard of Election Code.
Sec. 29-17. Deprivation of Constitutional Rights - Liability).
Any person who subjects, or causes to be subjected, a citizen of the State of Illinois or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States or of the State of Illinois, relating to registration to vote, the conduct of elections, voting, or the nomination or election of candidates for public or political party office, shall be liable to the party injured or any person affected, in any action or proceeding for redress.
Sec. 29-18. Conspiracy to prevent vote - Liability).
If 2 or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, threat, deception, forgery or bribery any person from registering to vote, or preventing any person lawfully entitled to vote from voting, or preventing any person from supporting or opposing, in a legal manner, the nomination or election of any person for public or political party office, or a proposition voted upon at any election, or to injure any person or such person's property on account of such vote, support or advocacy, and if one or more persons so conspiring do, attempt or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property or deprived of having or exercising any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the State of Illinois relating to the conduct of elections, voting, or the nomination or election of candidates for public or political party office, all persons engaged in such conspiracy shall be liable to the party injured or any person affected, in any action or proceeding for redress.
Sec. 29-19. False information - liability).
Whoever knowingly or willfully gives false information as to his name, address, or period of residence in the voting district for the purpose of establishing his eligibility to register to vote, or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be liable to the party injured or any other person affected, in an action or proceeding for redress.
More on Illinois Election Code prohibitions HERE.