Early voting for the primary election is supposed to start Thursday across Illinois, but millions of voters won’t have the option because of pending candidate challenges. The state’s four most-populous counties have delayed the start of in-person early voting, with Cook and DuPage waiting until as late as Feb. 21 in order to get final decisions on several candidate challenges. Lake County plans to start Feb. 16 and Will County election officials say they’ll keep voters updated on their website and hope to be ready within days of a decision. But elsewhere, particularly in smaller counties downstate, clerks proceeded Thursday, offering caveats to voters who want to cast ballots. The result could be confusion for voters.
One candidate ballot challenge has statewide impact. A judge ruled Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Drury can’t be on the ballot over questions about his filing of a candidate economic disclosure statement. However, his name will be allowed to remain while he appeals. If Drury is ultimately ruled off, votes for him won’t be counted, though he could still run as a write-in candidate.
Because of that pending decision and others, election officials in the city of Chicago have said they won’t be ready by Thursday, in order to have time to test out equipment and prepare ballots in four languages. Clerks in surrounding Cook County and three others nearby have followed suit, affecting nearly 4.5 million registered voters.
However, other county clerks say they’re ready to proceed Thursday.