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WGLT's reporting on the November 2020 election cycle.

Bloomington Election Commission Halts Early Voting Due To Ballot 'Glitch'

Voters at the poll
Emily Bollinger
Nearly 1,500 early voters had cast ballots at Grossinger Motors Arena as of Wednesday, according to the Bloomington Election Commission. That site is used by voters who live in Bloomington (served by BEC) and elsewhere in McLean County.

UPDATED 6:55 p.m. | The Bloomington Election Commission said Thursday it has suspended early voting after learning of a "glitch" with its ballots.

Commission chair Denise Williams confirmed the problem was related to two Eleventh Judicial Circuit judges, Jennifer Bauknecht and Matthew Fitton. Their retention was included on ballots prepared by the McLean County Clerk's office. But they were inadvertantly missing from Bloomington Election Commission (BEC) ballots.

Early voting began Sept. 24. That's also when vote-by-mail ballots were mailed out.

"I'm sorry this happened in Bloomington, because I believe in the mail-in voting process," BEC chair Denise Williams told WGLT. "I know that it can be fixed, and I know that we can have a good election."

The commission said it's "working to correct this glitch and at the advice of counsel, we have suspended early voting to prevent this glitch from compromising any ballots."

Williams said BEC staff overlooked the judge retention questions in an email from the Illinois State Board of Elections that listed certified races to include on the ballots. 

Williams said staff can prevent the problem in the future. 

"Yes, we can," she replied. "We can have more than two or three people read it."

Williams added the office is trying to figure out how those who already voted will get a corrected ballot. 

"We are just brainstorming trying to figure out the best thing for the voter," she said, adding the BEC is working with its vendors to get corrected ballots printed and hopes to get those mailed by late next week. 

As of Wednesday, about 1,488 early voters already had cast ballots at Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington. That shared early-voting site is used both by voters who live in Bloomington (served by BEC) and elsewhere in McLean County (served by the county clerk's office).

McLean County voters who are not from Bloomington can continue to early vote at Grossinger Motors Arena on Friday and thereafter, said County Clerk Kathy Michael.

BEC announced the suspension of early voting on its website.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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