Chicago election officials reported problems in some precincts related to election judges who didn’t give voters both pages of the paper ballot Tuesday, and separately announced they were expecting to ask a Cook County judge to extend voting hours in five precincts after problems there.

Despite reminders that election judges were to distribute both a ballot that lists candidates up for election and a second ballot that lists judges up for retention and nonbinding referendums, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners received reports from at least a dozen precincts that poll workers failed to hand out the second paper ballot.

That left voters with few options if they were intent on casting their votes on judges or on those issues.

“In theory, they could go back to their polling place and demand to vote a provisional, retention-only (ballot),” election board spokesman Jim Allen told reporters.

“If someone really wanted to, they could go back and demand that they vote a provisional, ‘B’ ballot. We’d have to determine at some point, 14 days from now, whether or not we could actually count that ballot.”

Officials said they did not know the exact extent of the problem, though election commission records showed staff members received a number of voter complaints about the issue through Tuesday afternoon.

“I think we’ve answered enough tweets and Facebook inquiries and emails where we feel confident that it was a dozen or more precincts at a minimum,” Allen said.

The essential problem, Allen said, was poll judges who did not follow training.

Chicago election officials also will ask a judge to extend voting hours in five precincts, following a series of problems with equipment or late openings:

  • After election supplies were mistakenly sent to the wrong polling place, city officials want to keep the 9th Ward’s 20th Precinct, Smith Park, 9912 S. Princeton Ave., and 31st Precinct, 11300 S. Indiana Ave., open until 8 p.m.
  • A shortage of election judges led to a roughly hourlong voting delay at the 46th Precinct of the 2nd Ward, 1711 N. Cleveland Ave., on Tuesday morning. Officials also want to extend voting at that site until 8 p.m.
  • A brief absence of election judges led to another hourlong delay in the 22nd Precinct of the 20th Ward, 6360 S. Minerva Ave., so the city election commission will ask to keep that polling place open until 8 p.m.
  • Ballot problems also led to extended delays at a polling place located at Murphy’s Windows, 10359 S. Pulaski Road, in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. The city will ask for those voting booths, located in the 12th Precinct of the 19th Ward, to stay open until 9 p.m. “Because there were more than 100 people who left and potentially people who are on shifts that are rather long, we’re going to seek especially extended hours at that location,” city election board spokesman Jim Allen said.

No other Chicago polling places were expected to stay open past 7 p.m., but following state law, anyone in line at that time should be allowed to vote.


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