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Chicago-Area Lawmaker Says He Was Stopped By Police Over Get-Out-The-Vote Message


State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Chicago, says he was pulled over in Kankakee on Election Day for blaring a recorded get-out-the-vote message by then-President Obama from his car.

Welch brought up the traffic stop at a House hearing on the Illinois voting process. Kankakee police confirm they did interact with Welch on Election Day, but wouldn’t go into specifics. Welch, an attorney, says he was in Kankakee to monitor early voting.

“It seemed like people of color were being harassed and intimidated the entire time," he said. "Police officers pulling people over for speeding, or improper lane change, not putting on your turn signal; making things up.”

The Republican state’s attorney investigated allegations of Democratic vote-buying. Nothing came of the action, but County Clerk Bruce Clark, also a Republican, cited the allegations in explaining why police were outside voting places.

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois. He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. He graduated from Macalester College. Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.