Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Back issues
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Judge Finds Ballot Language Misleading

CHICAGO (CN) - A Cook County judge ruled that Illinois must stop mailing ballots to military members and may not send absentee ballots to everyone else because they contain misleading and inaccurate language.

Judge Nathaniel R. Howse Jr. also ordered the State Board of Elections to explain why the ballot information is false. The false information is included on a measure on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention, which the state constitution says voters should decide every 20 years.

The ballots state that not voting on the measure is a no vote, which is inaccurate. Howse also ruled that it was inappropriate to mention that the last constitutional convention measure failed, in 1988.

The Chicago Bar Association and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn sued the state Board of Elections and Secretary of State Jesse White, claiming the wording of the measure was biased. Howse ordered attorneys for both sides to return to court today (Friday) to discuss how the notices would be distributed and whether there should be specific ballot changes.

Attorneys for the Bar were optimistic about fixing the ballots, but attorneys for the defendants argued that such interference would put the entire election process at risk.

It is not clear how many ballots need to be changed. More than 3 million Illinois residents voted in the primary election and with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama running for president, turnout in November is expected to be high.

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