Errors on applications sent by the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign to wannabe absentee voters could mean that thousands of voters in the state won’t receive their ballots before election day.
This year for the first time, Illinois voters are allowed to vote by mail without giving a reason for their absence from the polls on Election Day. The IDCC hired a company to send out applications to make it easier for voters to receive such ballots. But because the applications are first being routed through the Democratic Party, they might not make it to the Lake County clerk in time for Thursday’s deadline.
An Illinois county election official told Chicago’s ABC 7 that thousands, and potentially hundreds of thousands, of voters who anticipate receiving a ballot in the mail may not get them in time.
There could also be problems because some of the applications that were sent to voters had the wrong birthday on them, which could render them invalid.
The IDCC told ABC 7 that less that “1 percent of the ballot applications have been affected by the date-of-birth glitch and that a voter’s birthday is not a required piece of personal data to request a ballot.”
One individual who attended a meeting of the Democratic Party of Illinois last night for lawyers serving as poll watchers told TPMMuckraker that a party official addressed the issue.
“In response to a question, the General Counsel of the statewide party said that 95,000 absentee ballot applications, like the ones we received, were sent out,” the person told TPMMuckraker in an e-mail. “He said this has not been a good day for the party! (Quite an understatement.)”
The Illinois Democratic Party’s general counsel also said that the wrong birth date would make the application defective, resulting in no absentee ballot going to the voters, the person said.
The ILDCC didn’t get back to TPMMuckraker’s requests for comment yesterday, but here is what they told Chicago’s ABC 7:
Response to your inquiry from the Executive Director of the ILDCC, Dave Seman:
Less that 1 percent of the ballot applications have been affected by the glitch. Date of Birth is not a required piece of personal data to request a ballot. It was additional information that we included that may be wrong in some cases because of a vendor glitch. We are monitoring the problem but don’t have any cause for alarm. We are simply encouraging voters to check the application to make sure their date of birth and all personal information is correct. The majority of applications we are getting back have been fixed by the voters themselves and we are confident that this glitch will remedy itself. The important thing is for people to fill out their absentee ballot application carefully and completely. We have the resources in place to make sure everyone’s vote is valid and counted.
Why are you sending it to a PO Box instead of directly to an election authority?
We are doing everything we can to make sure our voters vote - this is pretty standard. In order to help Illinoisans apply for an absentee ballot the ILDCC incurred the cost of the postage so that we can help ensure folks get their ballot on time and that we know who is voting. Turn out as everyone knows is critical to this election. By working this through a PO Box we are better able to track the process and make sure there are fewer problems.