Illinois’ attorney general is adamant that early and absentee ballots must not be counted until after the polls close. The reason county clerks and election commissioners can’t push ballots through a tabulator now is because poll watchers are entitled to be present to observe the count. “We want to make sure that the law is followed. We want to make sure that there’s integrity in our elections and we want to make sure that everybody who has a right to observe the counting is allowed to do that,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.
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Some ballots were counted last week in Rock Island County and in Danville, though the results were not published. Madigan issued an official opinion advising election officials that they must wait, and now she’s reminding them. Meanwhile, the Illinois Republican Party is crying “Voter Fraud Alert,” even though the missteps regarding early counting, possible malfunctioning equipment in Rock Island County and suburban Cook County, and misprinted ballots in Rockford and Winnebago County, are not the fault of voters at all. The state Republican chairman sent out recorded phone messages to Republican voters and election judges claiming that “Democrats are trying to help Pat Quinn steal the vote.” Madigan – who is on the ballot herself in this election – says it should not be a partisan issue; everyone should want to see votes counted properly.