Early voting in the Illinois primary will likely be delayed due to to objections against several presidential candidates.
February 4 is the scheduled start date for early voting, but according to Jim Tenuto, assistant executive director of Illinois State Board of Elections, it’s unlikely several pending challenges to presidential hopefuls’ place on ballot will be settled in time for the ballot to be certified.
“There’s one against Hillary Clinton, and there’s two against (U.S. Sen.) Ted Cruz and one against (U.S. Sen. Marco) Rubio, but those don’t involve record examinations,” Tenuto said.
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They involve challenges to Cruz and Rubio’s eligibility to be president based on citizenship, which Tenuto says can be addressed more quickly than checking for invalid signatures on candidate petitions.
What’s to blame for the delay, according to Tenuto, is the extended early voting period ahead of the March 15th primary. This is the first presidential election cycle affected by the extended early voting hours signed into law in 2014.
The delay won’t last long, says Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, with election authorities now anticipating having early voting ballots ready by Feb. 17. If early voters come in before then, however, he says they’ll be allowed to apply to vote by mail.
“The choice where we’re sort of left with as election authorities is do we go ahead open early voting Feb. 4th with ballots that we know could change, and therefore the voter who votes on February 4th may vote for a candidate who ends up not being on the ballot,” Hulten said.
Hulten said early voting may begin before Feb. 17 if the election board is able to certify the ballot quicker than currently anticipated.