IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY

COUNTY DEPARTMENT, COUNTY DIVISION

 


 

Board of Election Commissioners of the City of Chicago,

LANGDON D. NEAL, RICHARD A. COWEN, and THERESA M. PETRONE,

 

            Plaintiffs,

 

vs.

 

HANS BERNHARD, LUZIUS A. BERNHARD,

OSKAR OBEREDER, CHRISTOPH JOHANNES MUTTER,

 JAMES BAUMGARTNER and DOMAIN BANK, INC.,

 

            Defendants.


)

)

)

)


 

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, INJUNCTION

AND OTHER RELIEF

 

Plaintiffs, BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, LANGDON D. NEAL, RICHARD A. COWEN and THERESA M. PETRONE, by their attorney, James M. Scanlon & Associates, hereby complain of Defendants HANS BERNHARD, LUZIUS A. BERNHARD, OSKAR OBEREDER, CHRISTOPH JOHANNES MUTTER, JAMES BAUMGARTNER and DOMAIN BANK, INC., and, pursuant to Sections 2-701, 11-101 and 11-102 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-701, 5/11-101 and 5/11-102), seek declaratory judgment, injunctive and other relief against said Defendants either jointly, severally or in the alternative and in support of this Complaint, Plaintiffs state as follows:

NATURE OF THE COMPLAINT

1.         This is a proceeding for declaratory and injunctive relief under Sections 2-701, 11-101 and 11-102 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-701, 5/11-01 and 5/11-102) for (a) the purpose of determining a question in actual controversy between the parties concerning whether the Defendants either jointly, severally or in the alternative are in violation of the election laws of the State of Illinois and the United States that prohibit the buying and selling of votes in elections for public office, and (b) for the purpose of obtaining injunctive relief against Defendants enjoining Defendants either jointly, severally or in the alternative from further violations of the election laws of the State of Illinois and the Unites States prohibiting the buying or selling of votes at the November 7, 2000 General Election (hereinafter referred to as the ìElectionî) to be conducted in the State of Illinois.  The Complaint also seeks other equitable and legal relief against Defendants, either jointly, severally or in the alternative, including but not limited to the award of damages to Plaintiffs and to members of a class consisting of all citizens of the State of Illinois for the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and of the State of Illinois.

PARTIES

2.         Plaintiff BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO (the ìBoardî) is a governmental entity created by Section 6-21 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/6-21) and is charged, pursuant to Section 6-26 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/6-26), with conducting all elections in the city of Chicago, Illinois.

3.         Plaintiff LANGDON D. NEAL (ìNealî) is a duly appointed Commissioner and the Chairman of the Board whose oath of office requires him to support and abide by the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois and the laws passed in pursuance thereof.  (10 ILCS 5/6-21, 5/6-24)  Neal is also a citizen and resident of, and a registered voter in, the city of Chicago, Illinois who is qualified to vote and intends to vote at the Election to be conducted in the City of Chicago and in the State of Illinois, for the purpose of electing federal, state, county and judicial officers, including President and Vice President of the United States.

4.         Plaintiff RICHARD A. COWEN (ìCowenî) is a duly appointed Commissioner of the Board whose oath of office requires him to support and abide by the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois and the laws passed in pursuance thereof. (10 ILCS 5/6-21, 5/6-24)  Cowen is also a citizen and resident of, and a registered voter in, the city of Chicago, Illinois who is qualified to vote and intends to vote at the Election to be conducted in the City of Chicago and in the State of Illinois, for the purpose of electing federal, state, county and judicial officers, including President and Vice President of the United States.

5.         Plaintiff THERESA M. PETRONE (ìPetroneî) is a duly appointed Commissioner of the Board whose oath of office requires her to support and abide by the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois and the laws passed in pursuance thereof. (10 ILCS 5/6-21, 5/6-24)  Petrone is also a citizen and resident of, and a registered voter in, the city of Chicago, Illinois who is qualified to vote and intends to vote at the Election to be conducted in the City of Chicago and in the State of Illinois, for the purpose of electing federal, state, county and judicial officers, including President and Vice President of the United States.

            6.         Upon information and belief, Defendants HANS BERNHARD (ìHans Bernardî), LUZIUS A. BERNHARD (ìLuzius Bernhardî), OSKAR OBEREDER (ìOberederî), and CHRISTOPH JOHANNES MUTTER (ìMutterî) are residents of and/or conduct business in Vienna, Austria.  Upon information and belief, Hans Bernard currently owns and/or operates an Internet web site entitled ìVoteauction.comî that transacts business within the State of Illinois.  Upon information and belief, Luzius Bernhard is the named registrant of the ìVoteauction.comî domain name and the siteís administrative and technical contact.  Upon information and belief, Obereder and Mutter are coordinators for the ìVoteauction.comî web site.

            7.         Upon information and belief, Defendant JAMES BAUMGARTNER (ìBaumgartnerî) is a resident of the State of New York.  Upon information and belief, Baumgartner created and operates or operated an Internet web site entitled ìVoteauction.comî that transacts business within the State of Illinois.

            8.         Upon information and belief, Defendant DOMAIN BANK, INC. (ìDomain Bankî) is a corporation organized and doing business under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania and its principal place of doing business is in the State of Pennsylvania.  Domain Bank provides data processing and preparation services in computer graphics for Voteauction.com and the persons and/or businesses that own and/or operate Voteauction.com.

JURISDICTION

            9.         Jurisdiction is vested in this Court pursuant to Art. 6, Sec. 9, of the Illinois Constitution; the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-701, 5/11-101, and 5/11-102; the Circuit Courts Act, 705 ILCS 35/26; and The Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq.

10.       Defendants, nonresidents of the State of Illinois having transacted business within the State of Illinois as alleged herein below, have submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-209(a)(1).

11.       Defendants, nonresidents of the State of Illinois having committed tortious acts within the State of Illinois as alleged herein below, have submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-209(a)(2).

12.       Defendants, nonresidents of the State of Illinois having made and/or performed a contract or promise substantially connected with the State of Illinois as alleged herein below, have submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-209(a)(7).

13.       Defendants, nonresidents of the State of Illinois having conspired with others to violate the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States and commit tortious acts within the State of Illinois as alleged herein below, have submitted to the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-209(c).

VENUE

            14.       All individual Plaintiffs are residents of the city of Chicago, the County of Cook, and the State of Illinois.

            15.       All individual Defendants are nonresidents of the State of Illinois.

            16.       Venue is properly vested in this Court pursuant to Section 2-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-101).

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

            17.       At the Election, registered and qualified voters in the State of Illinois will vote for and elect persons to be Electors of President and Vice President of the United States, Members of U.S. House of Representatives, State Senators, Representatives in the General Assembly, Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Judges, and various county officers.

            18.       At the Election, voters in the State of Illinois will vote for President and Vice President of the United States by marking an official ballot listing the names of the candidates of each political party or group for President and Vice President.  Such votes are not deemed or taken as direct votes for the candidates for President and Vice President, but instead to the Presidential vote as votes for Electors of President and Vice President of the United States selected by the political parties or groups.  Persons elected as Electors of President and Vice President must, following the Election, meet in Springfield, Illinois and cast their vote for President and Vice President of the United States.  (Art. 2, ß1, U.S. Const.; 10 ILCS 5/21-2 through 5/21-4)  The State of Illinois is entitled to twenty-two ìelectoral votes.î  The candidates for President and Vice President of the United States receiving the most electoral votes cast by electors in the various States shall be declared elected.

            19.       The Board is vested with sole statutory power and duty to conduct the Election to be held within the territorial limits of the City of Chicago in accordance with election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States.

            20.       As part of its duties, the Board has prepared, printed and distributed and will prepare, print and distribute absentee ballots to qualified voters who make application for such ballots.  Specifically, the Board will mail absentee ballots from their offices in the city of Chicago, Illinois to all eligible absentee voters.

            21.       Sections 19-5 and 20-5 of The Election Code require that absentee voters certify under penalty of perjury that they have marked their ballots in secret.  (10 ILCS 5/19-5, 5/20-5)

            22.       Sections 19-6 and 20-6 of The Election Code require that absentee voters return their marked absentee ballots directly to the Board in its offices in Chicago, Illinois only in the manner prescribed therein, namely: by mail, by personal delivery, by delivery by the voterís spouse, parent, child, brother or sister, or by a licensed messenger or motor carrier.  (10 ILCS 5/19-5, 5/20-5)

            23.       The Board is further vested with the sole statutory power and duty to process such absentee ballots for tabulation and counting and to canvass the returns and results of said election in its offices in Chicago, Illinois, all in accordance with the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States.

            24.       Upon information and belief, Baumgartner created a web site on the computer Internet known as ìVoteauction.com.î  In or about August 2000, the Voteauction.com web-site began appearing on the Internet at ìhttp://www.voteauction.com.î  True and correct copies of Voteauction.comís web-site pages are made a part hereof and are attached hereto as EXHIBIT A.  The affidavit of Daniel Doyle, who printed copies of the Voteauction.com web pages as they appear in EXHIBIT A and attests that they are true and correct copies thereof, is attached hereto as EXHIBIT B.

            25.       Defendants, through the Voteauction.com web site, solicit and allow individuals, including Illinois residents, to ìsellî their votes for the Election and solicit and allow individuals or corporations, including Illinois residents and corporations, to ìbidî on or buy such votes.  See EXHIBIT A, 1-19.

26.       The Voteauction.com web site states in part, ìNow you can profit from your election capital by selling your vote to the highest bidder.î  See EXHIBIT A, 1.  The web site solicits and allows persons to register with Voteauction.com by going to an on-line computer screen, filling in the form on the screen provided (including name, address and political affiliation), and then clicking the ìSubmitî button on the computer screen.  See EXHIBIT A, 6-7.

27.       The Voteauction.com web site states that as of October 12, 2000, as many as 1,131 Illinois residents have registered on-line through Voteauction.com, offering their votes for sale for the Election.  Upon information and belief, some of these Illinois residents are also residents of the city of Chicago.  See EXHIBIT A, 16.

            28.       Defendants, by and through Voteauction.com, solicit and allow Illinois individuals and corporations to ìbidî on the votes being offered for sale by registering on-line using a computer screen registration form.  Bidders submit bids for a block of votes consisting of all the votes offered for sale in any particular state.  The Voteacution.com web site provides that the starting bid for each state is $100, with a minimum bid increase of $50.  The Voteauction.com web site states in part, ìThe winning bidder for each state will be able to choose who the group will vote for en masse.î  The Voteauction.com web site states, ìThe winning bidder will have to contact the voteauction.com voters in order to provide payment and for the voters to provide verification.î  See EXHIBIT A, 8-19.

            29.       The Voteauction.com web site states that as of October 12, 2000 the highest bid offered for the purchase of Illinois residentsí votes for the Election was $14,000, equaling $12.38 per vote.  See EXHIBIT A, 16.

            30.       Articles posted on the Voteauction.com web site indicate that Baumgartner ìhad planned for voters to mail him absentee ballots to verify the selections.î  See EXHIBIT A, 29-30, Vote-selling Web site to be revived, possibly offshore, CNN.com, August 25, 2000.  In an article appearing on August 17, 2000 in the The Lycos Network, a copy of which is posted on the Voteauction.com web site and included herewith in EXHIBIT A, 32-34, Baumgartner is reported as stating that potential vote sellers were being notified that the Voteauction legal agreement, which was still being drafted, would be sent out at the end of the month.  Baumgartner is also reported as saying that he was ìconsidering a process in which the Voteauction participant fills out an absentee ballot and votes for whomever they want in every race but the presidency. Whether that choice will be Bush, Gore, Nader, Buchanan, or someone else entirely is determined by the outcome of the online auction.î  ìThen when the time comes, whoever wins the auction decides who this group is going to vote for,î Baumgartner is quoted as saying, ìSo I tell those people you should vote for this person.  Then they fill in the form, and then they send it to me.  And I just verify that theyíre voting for the correct person.î  See EXHIBIT A, 34.

            31.       In an article appearing on The Lycos Network on September 6, 2000, a copy of which is posted on Voteauction.comís web site and included herewith in EXHIBIT A, an unidentified spokesman for Voteauction.com is reported to have said:

ìVerification will now be the responsibility of the winning bidder.  *** They can choose from a variety of methods for verification of the votes.  They may have the voters send in their absentee ballots for verification, they may have the voters take photographs inside the voting booth, or they go to the honor system ñ that is the system that many vote-purchasing endeavors have used in the past.  We have chosen to have the winning bidders responsible for the verification because it would not be feasible to have people send their absentee ballots all the way to Austria and have us send them back to America within an appropriate time frame.î

 

See EXHIBIT A, 42-43.

 

            32.       The Voteauction.com web site states that for the Election, Voteauction.com ìis concentrating on just the U.S. Presidential electionî but that Voteauction.com hopes that in future it will be able to ìgrow our business into every election market niche from Senatorial races to municipal water commissioner.î  See EXHIBIT A, 19.

            33.       The Voteauction.com web site states that it will not receive any money from the auction.  However, Bernhard has stated that ìWe bought the domain name and related business because we see this as a serious business venture in which we can make money.î  See EXHIBIT A, 19, 29.

            34.       Nowhere on the Voteauction.com web site does it state that the selling and buying of votes, or offering to buy or sell votes is illegal or that the individuals selling or offering to sell their votes, and individuals buying or offering to buy votes may be committing a crime.  See EXHIBIT A, 1-22.

            35.       The laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States prohibit the selling and buying of votes.

            36.       Section 29-1 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-1) provides, ìAny person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote *** or to influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.î  Thus, vote buying is illegal under Illinois law and any person giving or promising to give money to Illinois residents to influence them to vote or to vote for or against any candidate to be voted upon at the Election is guilty of a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.

            37.       Section 29-3 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-3) provides, ìAny person who votes for or against any candidate or public question in consideration of any gift or loan of money or for any other valuable consideration *** shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.î  Thus, vote selling is illegal under Illinois law and any person voting for or against any candidate on the Illinois ballot for the Election in consideration of any money or other valuable consideration is guilty of a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.

            38.       Any person attempting to sell or buy votes in Illinois has committed an offense under Illinois law and is guilty of a Class 4 felony that is punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.  (10 ILCS 5/29-13; 720 ILCS 5/2-12; 720 ILCS 5/8-4)  Thus, any person in Illinois who has attempted to sell his or her vote at the Election by registering with Voteauction.com to sell his or her vote, and any person who has attempted to buy the votes of Illinois residents for the Election by registering with Voteauction.com to bid on such votes, has committed a Class 4 felony.

            39.       Any person who solicits another to sell or buy votes in Illinois has committed an offense under Illinois law and is guilty of a Class 4 felony that is punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.  (10 ILCS 5/29-13; 720 ILCS 5/2-12; 720 ILCS 5/8-1)  Defendants, by and through Voteauction.com, are guilty of soliciting others to sell or buy votes in Illinois and have committed a Class 4 felony.

            40.       Any person who conspires with another to sell or buy votes in Illinois has committed an offense under Illinois law and is guilty of a Class 4 felony that is punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.  (10 ILCS 5/29-13; 720 ILCS 5/2-12; 720 ILCS 5/8-2)  Defendants have conspired with others to sell and buy votes in Illinois and are guilty of conspiring to sell and buy votes in Illinois under the laws of the State of Illinois.

            41.       Anyone who marks or tampers with an absentee ballot of another person or takes an absentee ballot of another person in violation of Section 19-6 of The Election Code (see 22 above) so that an opportunity for fraudulent marking or tampering is created is guilty of a Class 3 felony under Illinois law.  (10 ILCS 5/29-20)

42.       By requiring those offering to sell their votes to submit their absentee ballots to Defendants or to others so as to verify their voting selections, Defendants are guilty of (a) conspiring with others to commit absentee vote fraud, (b) soliciting others to commit absentee vote fraud, and (c) attempted absentee vote fraud.

            43.       Title 18, Section 597 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C. ß597) provides, ìWhoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.î 

            44.       Title 42, Section 1973i(c) of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. ß1973i(c)) provides that for Federal elections, ìWhoever knowingly or willfully *** pays or offers to pay or accepts payment for *** voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.î

            45.       Thus, any person in Illinois who has knowingly or willfully offered to sell his or her vote at the Election, which is also a Federal election, by registering with Voteauction.com to sell his or her vote, and any person who has knowingly or willfully offered to buy the votes of Illinois residents for the Election by registering with Voteauction.com to bid on such votes, has committed a criminal offense under 18 U.S.C. ß597 and 42 U.S.C. ß1973i(c).

            46.       Title 42, Section 1973i(c) of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. ß1973i(c)) also provides that for Federal elections, ìWhoever knowingly or willfully *** conspires with another individual for the purpose of *** illegal voting *** shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.î

            47.       Thus, Defendants have committed a violation of 42 U.S.C. ß1973i(c) in that they have conspired for the purpose of illegal voting.

            48.       Title 42, Section 1973gg10 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. ß1973gg-10) provides that in any Federal election, ìA person *** knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process by *** the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held, shall be fined in accordance with title 18 *** or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.î  Thus, federal law secures the right of voters in a State to have fair and impartially conducted elections.

49.       Defendants, by and through Voteauction.com, have knowingly and willfully deprived and defrauded, and will deprive and defraud, Plaintiffs and all citizens of the State of Illinois of a fair and impartial election by procuring ballots that are known to be materially false and fraudulent under the laws of the State of Illinois.

            50.       Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois (Art. 3, ß3 Ill. Const.) guarantees Illinois citizens the right to ìfree and equalî elections.  Under this provision, elections are free only when the voters are subjected to no intimidation or improper influence and when every voter is allowed to cast his or her own ballot as his or her own judgment and conscience dictate.  When the ballot box becomes the receptacle of fraudulent votes, the freedom and equality of elections are destroyed.

51.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, by and through Voteauction.com, have deprived and will deprive the Plaintiffs and all Illinois citizens of their constitutional right to free and equal elections.

            52.       Defendants have been warned that the buying or selling of votes in Illinois is a Class 4 felony.  See September 20, 2000 and October 5, 2000 electronic mail messages from A.L. Zimmer, General Counsel, Illinois State Board of Elections to the Voteauction.com ìMessage Board,î which is posted on Voteauction.comís web site.  See EXHIBIT A, 107-108.

            53.       In an article appearing on CNN.com on August 25, 2000, a copy of which is posted on Voteauction.comís web site and included herewith as EXHIBIT A, Hans Bernhard is reported to have said that his holding company would operate Voteauction.com outside of the United States to circumvent federal and state laws that forbid purchasing and buying ballots.  See EXHIBIT A, 29.

            54.       Notwithstanding warnings that the buying and selling of votes is illegal under Illinois law and notwithstanding their own admissions that their conduct violates state and federal laws, Defendants have continued to knowingly and willfully violate the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States by encouraging, soliciting and allowing the residents of Illinois and others through the Voteauction.com web site to sell and buy votes for candidates at the Election.

COUNT I

DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

            1-54.    Plaintiffs re-allege and incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 54 herein as their allegations 1 through 54 of Count I.

            55.       A dispute and controversy has arisen between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants concerning the right of Defendants to use and operate an Internet web site as an auction forum for the purpose of encouraging, soliciting and allowing residents of Illinois to sell their votes to be cast at the Election and encouraging, soliciting and allowing individuals and corporations to ìbidî on and buy such votes.

            56.       Defendantsí continued use and operation of the Internet web site known as Voteauction.com as an auction forum for purpose of encouraging, soliciting and allowing residents of Illinois to sell their votes to be cast at the Election and encouraging, soliciting and allowing individuals and corporations to ìbidî on or buy such votes constitutes knowing and willful violations of the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the Unites States that will result in illegal and fraudulent voting at the Election if not prevented.

            57.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois not to violate the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States.

            58.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois not to deprive them or defraud them of their rights and privileges under the Constitutions and laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States to a free and equal election and to a fair and impartially conducted election process.

            59.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, have deprived and defrauded, and will deprive and defraud, the Plaintiffs and all citizens of the State of Illinois of their rights and privileges under the Constitutions and laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States to a free and equal election and to a fair and impartially conducted election process.

            60.       An actual controversy exists between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants.

            WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request a declaratory judgment in accordance with Section 2-701 of the Code of Civil Procedure against the Defendants, either jointly, severally or in the alternative as follows:

A.        The Court declare illegal and tortious Defendantsí use and operation of an Internet web site as an auction forum for the purpose of encouraging, soliciting and allowing residents of Illinois to sell their votes to be cast at the November 7, 2000 General Election and encouraging, soliciting and allowing individuals and corporations to ìbidî on and buy such votes.

B.         The Court declare that Defendants and all those acting in concert with them owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois not to violate the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States and that they are in breach of this duty.

C.        The Court declare that Defendants and all those acting in concert with them owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois not to deprive them or defraud them of their rights and privileges under the Constitution and laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States to a free and equal election and to a fair and impartially conducted election process and they are in breach of this duty.

D.        The Court declare that the Defendants and all those acting in concert with them owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois to cease and desist from using or operating the Internet web site known as ìVoteauction.comî and to remove such web site from the Internet or, in the alternative, to modify the Internet web site known as ìVoteauction.comî so as to remove any illegal content.

E.         The Court declare that the Defendants and all those acting in concert with them owe a duty to Plaintiffs and to all citizens of the State of Illinois to cease and desist from using or operating any Internet web site by any name that would violate prohibitions in the laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States against the buying and selling of votes in elections.

F.         The Court declare that anyone selling or attempting to sell his or her vote, and anyone buying or attempting to buy the votes of another is in violation of the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States as enumerated herein.

G.        The Court declare that Defendants owe Plaintiffs their costs and attorneysí fees for this action.

H.        The Court order such other relief that the Court may deem just.


COUNT II

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

            1-60.    Plaintiffs re-allege and incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 of Count I herein as their allegations 1 through 60 of Count II.

            61.       Unless injunctive relief is granted, Defendants will continue to violate the election laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States and to deprive Plaintiffs and all citizens of the State of Illinois of their rights and privileges under the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois and the laws passed pursuit thereof to a free and equal election and to a fair and impartially conducted election process.

62.       Unless injunctive relief is granted, Defendantsí illegal and tortious conduct will allow the ballot box to become the receptacle of fraudulent votes, thus infecting the result of the Election with fraud. 

63.       Unless injunctive relief is granted, Defendantsí illegal and tortious conduct may affect the results of the Election for President and Vice President of the United States as well as for other offices. 

64.       The Plaintiffs will suffer immediate and irreparable injury in fulfilling their statutory duties to provide for the orderly and lawful administration of this election unless Defendantsí illegal and tortious conduct is enjoined forthwith.  Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone, as well as all citizens of the State of Illinois will, unless Defendantsí conduct is enjoined forthwith, suffer irreparable injury to their rights as citizens of the State of Illinois to a free and fair election.

65.       Given the nature of the injuries to result from Defendantsí illegal and tortious conduct, neither Plaintiffs nor the citizens of the State of Illinois will have an adequate remedy at law in which to redress Defendantsí conduct because the injuries suffered are of such a nature that damages may not be reasonably ascertained.

66.       Absent immediate relief, Plaintiffs will, in fact, be denied meaningful relief because the right to vote in the Election will be rendered moot after the Election.

67.       The threatened injury to the Plaintiffs and to the citizens of the State of Illinois will be immediate, certain and great if injunctive relief is denied while the loss or inconvenience to the Defendants (not being able to engage in an illegal enterprise) will be comparatively small and insignificant if injunctive relief is granted.

68.       Plaintiffs have a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the merits of this claim.

69.       The granting of injunctive relief in this case will not have an injurious effect on the public and, in fact, will better serve the interests of the public than if not granted.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request that the Court enter a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions in accordance with Sections 11-101 and 11-102 of the Code of Civil Procedure against Defendants as follows:

A.        The Court enjoin Defendants and all those acting in concert with them and order them to immediately cease and desist form using or operating any Internet web site that encourages or allows residents of Illinois to sell their votes to be cast at the November 7, 2000 General Election.

B.         The Court enjoin Defendants and all those acting in concert with them and order them to immediately cease and desist from using, operating, facilitating or accessing domain name ìvoteauction.comî and to remove such web site from the Internet completely or, in the alternative, to modify the Internet web site known as ìvoteauction.comî so as to remove any illegal content.

C.        The Court enjoin Defendants and all those acting in concert with them from allowing or continuing registration of the Internet domain name "voteauction.com" or any other domain name offering substantially the same service as voteauction.com.

D.        The Court enjoin the Defendants and all those acting in concert with them and order them to immediately cease and desist from using or operating in the State of Illinois any Internet web site by any name in any manner that would violate prohibitions in the laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States against the buying and selling of votes in elections.

E.         The Court enjoin the Defendants and all those acting in concert with them and order them to immediately disclose to the proper election authorities the names and addresses of every individual in Illinois who has sold his or her vote or has offered to sell his or her vote through voteauction.com and the names and addresses of every individual and/or entity that has paid or has offered to pay for votes of Illinois residents through voteauction.com.

F.         The Court enjoin the Defendants and all those acting in concert with them and order them to cease and desist from accepting from residents of the State of Illinois any registration or offer to sell votes or to buy votes at auction through voteauction.com and to modify their web site to indicate that all registrations or offers to sell votes from Illinois residents will be denied.

G.        The Court order that Defendants shall within 10 days report to the Court on the measurers they have taken to implement this order.

H.        The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this matter.

I.          The Court order Defendants to pay Plaintiffs their costs and attorneysí fees for this action.

J.          The Court order such other relief that the Court may deem just.

COUNT III

SEPARATE ACTION AT LAW

CLASS ACTION FOR DAMAGES FOR DEPRIVATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

(10 ILCS 5/29-17)

 

            1-60.    Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone re-allege and incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 of Count I herein as their allegations 1 through 60 of Count III.

            61.       Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone, pursuant to Section 2-801 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-801), bring this action on their own behalf and on behalf of all citizens of the State of Illinois, except those who have offered to sell their votes and those who have bid on the votes being offered as alleged above (the ìclassî).  The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical; questions of law and fact are common to the class; adequate representation of claims of representative parties exists and a class action is an appropriate litigation procedure in terms of time, effort and expense and uniformity of decision.

            62.       Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois (Art. 3, ß3 Ill. Const.) guarantees Illinois citizens the right to ìfree and equalî elections.  Under this provision, elections are free only when the voters are subjected to no intimidation or improper influence and when every voter is allowed to cast his or her own ballot as his or her own judgment and conscience dictate.  When the ballot box becomes the receptacle of fraudulent votes, the freedom and equality of elections are destroyed.

63.       Under Title 42, Section 1973gg10 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. ß1973gg-10), federal law secures the right of voters in a State to have fair and impartially conducted elections.

64.       Section 29-17 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-17) provides that ìAny person who subjects, or causes to be subjected, a citizen of the State of Illinois or any 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.î

65.       Under Section 29-17, Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, owe a duty to Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and to each member of their class of their rights not to subject them to a deprivation of any rights or privileges secured under the Constitution and laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States, including those secured by Article 3, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution and by 42 U.S.C. ß1973gg-10 relating to voting, the conduct of election or the election of candidates for public office.

66.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, have unlawfully subjected Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and each member of their class to the deprivation of their rights and privileges under Article 3, Section 3 of the Illinois Constitution to a free and equal election for the Election and Defendants have breached their duty to Plaintiffs and the class members.

67.       Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, have unlawfully subjected Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and each member of their class to the deprivation of their right under 42 U.S.C. ß1973gg-10 to a fair and impartially conducted election for the November 7, 2000 General Election and Defendants have breached their duty to Plaintiffs and the class members.

68.       Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and each member of their class have suffered injuries due to Defendantsí unlawful deprivation of Plaintiffsí and class membersí constitutional and legal rights and Defendantsí breach of duty toward Plaintiffs and the class members.

69.       Defendants are, therefore, liable to Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and to each member of their class under Section 29-17 of The Election Code for the deprivation of their rights and privileges secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and of the State of Illinois as enumerated above.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request that the Court:

A.        Order Defendants to pay class members their damages sustained due to the Defendantsí deprivation of their constitutional and legal rights and privileges and Defendantsí breach of duty.

B.         Order Defendants to pay class members their costs and attorneysí fees for this action.

C.        Order such other relief that the Court may deem just.


 

COUNT IV

SEPARATE ACTION AT LAW

CLASS ACTION FOR DAMAGES FOR CONSPIRING TO ENCOURAGE

ILLEGAL VOTING

(10 ILCS 5/29-19)

 

            1-60.    Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone re-allege and incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 of Count I herein as their allegations 1 through 60 of Count IV.

            61.       Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone, pursuant to Section 2-801 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-801), bring this action on their own behalf and on behalf of all citizens of the State of Illinois, except those who have offered to sell their votes and those who have bid on the votes being offered as alleged above (the ìclassî).  The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical; questions of law or fact are common to the class; adequate representation of claims of representative parties exists and a class action is an appropriate litigation procedure in terms of time, effort and expense and uniformity of decision.

            62.       Section 29-19 of The Election Code (10 ILCS 5/29-19) provides in part that ìWhoever knowingly or willfully *** conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging *** illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment *** for voting shall be liable to the party injured or any other person affected, in an action or proceeding for redress.î

            63.       Under Section 29-19, Defendants and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, owe a duty to Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and to each member of their class not to conspire with others for the purpose of encouraging illegal voting.

            64.       Defendants, and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, have knowingly and willfully conspired for the purpose of encouraging illegal voting.

            65.       Defendants, and all those acting in concert with them, including those Illinois residents who have or will sell their votes or who have or will buy such votes, have by their unlawful conspiracy to encourage illegal voting breached their duty to Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and each member of their class and Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and each member of their class have suffered injuries as a result of said breach.

            66.       Defendants are, therefore, liable to Plaintiffs Neal, Cowen and Petrone and to each member of their class under Section 29-19 of The Election Code for conspiring to encourage illegal voting.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request that the Court:

A.        Order Defendants to pay class members their damages for injuries sustained due to the Defendantsí conspiracy to encourage illegal voting and Defendantsí breach of duty.

B.         Order Defendants to pay class members their costs and attorneysí fees for this action.


C.        Order such other relief that the Court may deem just.

BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS

FOR THE CITY OF CHICAGO, LANGDON D. NEAL, RICHARD A. COWEN and THERESA M. PETRONE, Plaintiffs

 

 

By: ________________________________

Their Attorney

Atty. No. 70383
James M. Scanlon
James M. Scanlon & Associates
70 West Madison Street, Suite 3600
Chicago, Illinois 60602
312-977-4881