Illinois elections officials correcting issues with mail-in balloting

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Elections officials in Illinois said local authorities are doing their due diligence to keep Illinois’ voter rolls clean, but there may be mistakes from time to time.

Judicial Watch, a national government transparency group, said when it joined a lawsuit for voter roll access that there were 600,000 inactive registrants on Illinois voter rolls. They also claim 14 percent of Illinois’ 102 counties have more registered voters than citizens over 18.

While he couldn’t comment on any pending litigation, Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the state is part of a multi-state data exchange that helps keep voter rolls accurate.

“Keeping deceased people off your rolls, we assist them in that, we get lists every month so that they can keep that clean,” Dietrich said.

Meanwhile, with two million mail-in ballots being sent by local officials in 108 jurisdictions, some have errors on the ballot while others improperly reveal voter party affiliation.

In Bloomington, voters who already sent in their ballots weren’t being asked about certain judge retention. In Madison County, some voters got their mail-in ballots and it had their party affiliation publicly labeled.

Madison County Board member Chris Guy said he was alarmed that could lead to an election judge discriminating when processing ballots.

“For an honest and fair election the party of affiliation should not be on the outside label for everyone to see,” Guy said.

Guy later said the county clerk acknowledged the error and will redact the designation before returned ballots are processed.

“I appreciate [Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza’s] cooperation as this is very important because if we have any close election in our county this November, and I expect we will, the election will come down to absentee ballots,” Guy said.

Dietrich said such problems aren’t widespread, but is up to local authorities to correct.

“In Illinois, we have a bottom-up election system which does mean that the local elections authorities conduct the elections, so they have to fix those kinds of errors,” Dietrich said. “There are a lot of details that go into printing these ballots and the responsibility lies with the local elections authorities to do that.”

Dietrich said those who’ve requested a mail-in ballot should fill it out and send it in as soon as possible to ensure they’re counted.

Mail-in ballots received up to election day will be processed on election day, but totals from those votes won’t be logged until polls close the evening of Nov. 3. Mail-in ballots with postmarks no later than Nov. 3 will be accepted up to two weeks after. The election won’t be certified until early December.

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