A ballot issue in Schuyler County raised the ire of the Illinois Republican Party last night.
The Schuyler County Clerk’s Office was notified yesterday that they had printed an incorrect person’s name as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate challenging Democrat incumbent Tammy Duckworth.
Rather than having Kathy Salvi’s name printed as the candidate, Salvi’s primary challenger and runner-up Peggy Hubbard’s name was printed on the ballot. Hubbard overwhelming won the primary in Schuyler County with 396 votes to Salvi’s 170. However, Salvi did well in the suburbs and the City of Chicago to win the overall race to take the Republican nomination.
Schulyer County Clerk Mindy Garrett says the human error caused problems on some early voters’ cast ballots and mail-in ballots: “When we were notified yesterday morning, as soon as we were notified, we contacted the vendor and took immediate action to get the ballots corrected. We had 45 early votes placed here in the office and 307 that were vote-by-mail ballots. We are in the process currently of re-sending out with a letter those 307 mail-in ballots, so that they have an opportunity to vote a correct ballot.”
Salvi’s campaign and IL GOP Chairman Don Tracy were upset over the error calling it a more pressing problem with modern-day elections asking for integrity and transparency.
Tracy called it an unacceptable error by Garrett’s Office in a press release: “Voters need to have confidence that our election process is conducted fairly and transparently. This is an unacceptable error by the Schuyler County Clerk. While we are lucky that we caught this error early, this doesn’t change the fact that it could very well disenfranchise dozens of her voters. Officials responsible must be held accountable professionally, and Schuyler County must come up with a solution to remedy their mistake and ensure these voters have a say in who represents them in the United States Senate.”
Garrett says she currently is awaiting a ruling from the Illinois State Board of Elections on the 45 early voters’ ballots on whether they can re-cast their vote on correct ballots. They are currently being sequestered. Matt Dietrich, spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Elections told Capital Fax that barring any court order to do otherwise, any votes for Hubbard will be disregarded when tabulation begins at 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Garrett, who is a Democrat, says the issue was not a politically concocted plot to disenfranchise voters: “There was no ill-intent whatsoever. I mean, it was a human error. I take responsibility. It was a human error and I completely apologize for the error. And I’m sure politics have come into play, but it was nothing politically driven any shape or form.”
Garrett says voters coming into early vote and receiving a mail-in ballot now can be confident the error has corrected and that her office is working with the Salvi campaign to satisfy any further questions: “As soon as we found out about the error, we took immediate action and within an hour (I don’t know the exact time) we stopped all voting as soon as we found out and made the correction. Then, we immediately started having the corrected ballots being sent out and for people coming in to early vote. We are working with her legal counsel, and we are working well with them trying to answer any questions and do everything we can to make this as clean as possible. We got the corrections done as soon as we could.”
Ballot certification by the State Board of Elections took place on August 26th after the June primary was certified. The Board of Elections does not approve local ballots being printed after certification. According to the June primary, there are 4,792 registered voters in Schuyler County. Garrett is running unopposed for re-election as Schuyler County Clerk.