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WGLT's reporting on the November 2020 election cycle.

Bloomington Election Commission Awaits Courts OK Before Issuing Supplemental Ballots

Emily Bollinger
The Bloomington Election Commission resumed early voting for Bloomington voters on Monday after printing corrected ballots.

The Bloomington Election Commission is seeking an emergency court order to allow it to mail 9,000 supplemental ballots to voters who received ballots in which two judicial retention questions were mistakenly omitted.
“We want to make sure that from a legal perspective we have approval for what we are wanting to do because obviously it’s not normal,” said BEC Executive Director Tim Mitchell.

Tim Mitchell standing next to American flag
Credit Tim Mitchell
BEC Executive Director Tim Mitchell said the commission is ready to mail ballots as soon as the court approves the supplemental ballot.

Mitchell said the Eleventh Judicial Circuit that includes McLean County recused all judges in the circuit from the case and the commission is waiting to find out which judge from outside the five-county circuit (McLean, Ford, Livingston, Logan and Woodford) will be assigned to rule in the case.

The BEC, which oversees voting in the City of Bloomington, temporarily suspended early voting at Grossinger Motors Arena late last week after a voter discovered the ballots were missing retention questions for Eleventh Judicial Circuit judges Jennifer Bauknecht and Matthew Fitton.

Early voting resumed Monday after the commission printed corrected ballots.

The McLean County Clerk’s office, which manages voting for the rest of McLean County, in including Normal, did not have any incorrect ballots. Its voting has continued uninterrupted.

Mitchell said the BEC mailed out about 13,000 mail-in ballots to voters starting Sept. 24, when early voting began. He said mail-in voters from precincts 48 to 52 won’t need supplemental ballots because the commission caught the error before their ballots were mailed.

He said voters can use supplemental ballots if they already have voted in the other races, or if they received an incomplete ballot and haven’t returned it.

“This way, no voter is disenfranchised, no voter is not given the opportunity to cast a ballot in the judicial retention races,” Mitchell said. “Even if I get people who say, ‘I don’t care about those,’ I’m still going to send it because I want to make sure you have the opportunity to cast a ballot.”

Mitchell said the cost of the supplemental mailing will be about $9,000 or about $1 per ballot.

He said the commission also is working on a plan to have supplemental ballots available at the arena for those who already have voted, but that’s not been determined yet.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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