Chicago election officials reported problems in more than 30 precincts related to election judges who didn’t give voters both pages of the paper ballot Tuesday, and separately announced a Cook County judge allowed officials 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 32 precincts out of 2,069 that poll workers failed to hand out the second paper ballot, officials said, citing their call logs.
“This was something that we drove home in training,” election board spokesman Jim Allen said. “For whatever reason, in 1.5 percent of our precincts, that message was not clear or the judges did not pull all the ballots out of the election supply carrier in the morning.”
That left voters with few options if they were intent on casting their votes on judges or on the referendum issues.
“In theory, they could go back to their polling place and demand to vote a provisional, retention-only (ballot),” Allen told reporters earlier in the day.
“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.”
Voters complained through traditional means, but also through tweets, Facebook inquiries and emails.
The essential problem, Allen said, was poll judges who did not follow training.
Separately, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Carol Kipperman approved each of the city’s requests for extended hours at five polling places that had extended delays or equipment problems, city officials said late in the afternoon:
- 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 asked 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 wants 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,” spokesman Allen said earlier.
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.
Live updates: Illinois voters head to polls to elect governor, key House seats »
5 things to know about Election Day in Illinois »
Illinois midterms election voting guide »