Herald-Whig

Appeals court denies Barnard's request; no late voting in Adams County

Adams County Clerk, Chuck Venverloh, and election judges, hand-count auxiliary and other uncounted ballots Monday, Mar. 21, 2016, at the Adams County Courthouse in Quincy. There were more than a 1000 ballots that couldn't be counted by an automatic machine tabulator. H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt.
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 22, 2016 2:20 pm

QUINCY — There will be no extended voting in Adams County.

The 4th District Appellate Court denied a request Tuesday from Adams State's Attorney Jon Barnard to vacate a stay it issued late last week that halted a plan to extend voting this week for those who did not vote in the March 15 primary election because of a lack of ballots.

Barnard said he will not pursue the case further because it would push the process beyond March 29, the deadline for Adams County Clerk Chuck Venvertloh to certify election results.

“I'm disappointed for the voters who did not get to vote on March 15,” Barnard said. “We had hoped the process that we prepared and put into place and was approved by the circuit court would be something that would restore their right to vote.”

Barnard filed a response late Monday afternoon to overturn the appellate court's ruling approved Friday at the request of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan sought the appeal after Circuit Judge Chet Vahle refused to reverse an injunction he had ordered the day before that would have allowed five extra days of voting this week.

The attorney general's office argued the Illinois Constitution and the state election code sets how and when elections are conducted and that Vahle's ruling created a class of voters that would receive an extra week to cast ballots after results have been publicly announced.

Barnard had argued that the injunction afforded the right to extended voting to those who were unable to cast ballots.

A voter would have only been able to cast a ballot if there was an electronic record of his or her signing in at their precinct but not receiving a ballot, or by signing an affidavit swearing under the penalties of perjury that they attempted to vote but were unable to do so because of the lack of ballots.

Barnard believes that the Legislature should look at remedies for voters adversely affected in future elections.

“I think where there is actual fault by the guardian of the process, which is the government, and where there is an opportunity to solve it in a prompt and uniform way, I think the Legislature should consider something along the lines of what we had suggested with the court order,” he said.

Venvertloh plans to have updated election results Wednesday from the 1,162 photocopied ballots that were distributed in some precincts March 15.

The only race Venvertloh thinks the outcome could change is the Liberty School District tax request to increase its education tax levy by 75 cents.. Early results have the proposal being defeated by a 612-544 vote.

Venvertloh said he held up printing too many new ballots to see whether extended voting would be approved.

“I do have a lot that I do have to throw away that came back from the polls,” he said. “We did receive, believe it or not, quite a few back from the polls for those people that were there but left before the ballots got to them.”