Voter Turnout

Chicago Anti-Violence Program Scrutinized as a Vote-Buying Scam

It spread lots of money around to (seemingly) little effect

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On a chilly afternoon this fall, teenagers across Chicago's South Side were busy at work, earning $8.75 an hour to hand out fliers with a message of non-violence.

"Our message that we're giving out today is about being healthy," said 18-year-old Lucia Eloisa. "One of the key pointers is about taking time to reflect and seek inner peace."

Eloisa's part-time job was paid for by an ambitious state-funded program to keep at-risk teenagers out of trouble. It pumped nearly $55 million into Chicago's toughest neighborhoods and three of its suburbs to stem unrelenting gang violence.