FOX News continues stoking the fires of incendiary campaign rhetoric, this time asserting verifiable falsehoods about absentee ballots in Chicago.
On a "Fox & Friends" segment Thursday morning, host Steve Doocy asked if "inmates [were] taking priority over American soldiers," while the banner below him screamed, "INMATES VOTE, TROOPS DON'T."
Doocy claimed that ballots were "hand-delivered" to inmates at the Cook County Jail, while absentee ballots weren't sent on time to American soldiers serving abroad.
Rather than bringing on a Chicago reporter to discuss the facts of the case, or asking the Board of Elections for comment, the show interviewed Quinn Hillyer of the Washington Times, a paper whose name almost makes it sound non-partisan. "It's awful," Hillyer said. "What it comes down to is, felons vote, soldiers don't. At least that seems to be the attitude in Cook County, Illinois."
Watch the clip:
Trouble with Doocy's claims: they're all patently false.
It is true, as he says leading off the segment, that 35 counties were, to some degree, late in send out absentee ballots to military personnel.
Cook County was not one of them. In fact, according to a press release from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Cook County overseas ballots were sent out by September 3, more than two weeks ahead of the federal deadline.
In 24 of the 35 counties in question, fewer than 10 absentee ballots were requested. In the most egregious case, St. Clair County in the southwestern part of the state sent out 1,274 absentee ballots on October 4, roughly two weeks after the deadline. But all of Cook County's 7,163 overseas soldiers will indeed have the chance to vote, contrary to Hillyer's complaint.
What's more, the claim about ballots being hand-delivered to prisoners also turns out to be pretty suspect.
From the Election Board:
A ballot is delivered to a detainee only if we receive an absentee application from a valid registered voter who is not yet convicted -- under the standard of innocent until proven guilty. If the application is from someone who is convicted between the date they requested the ballot and election day, that sealed ballot, whether or not it's from a registered voter, is not allowed into the count. Through yesterday, there were 1,373 applications.
The Capitol Fax Blog sums it up: "Inmates have to request the ballots. Only those who aren't convicted are sent ballots. And soldiers received their ballots ahead of schedule. Other than that, the show was quite accurate. Except, there was no other than that."