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Illinois Elections Board: Few Problems Reported On Election Day

Mary Hansen
NPR Illinois
Jessica Miller votes at a polling place in Springfield.

Just over a million people voted before Election Day in Illinois – and millions more are expected to cast their ballots today.

Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich says there have been a few calls regarding problems at polling places. Mostly the issues have been malfunctioning counting machines.

“That’s a pretty routine thing that does tend to happen on Election Day,” he said. “There is a procedure in place for handling those ballots until they can be put into a functioning tabulator.”

There were long lines at polling places at Illinois State University and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

Meanwhile, lawyers with the Illinois Attorney General's office were called to Saline County, a southern county with around 25,000 people. They intervened when the county clerk wasn't allowing pollwatchers to observe the recounting of early and mail-in ballots after a counting machine malfunctioned, according to a spokeswoman with the office. 

She said lawyers also went to Kendall and DuPage counties to clear up confusion over what to do when voters bring mail-in ballots to the polls. Voters are allowed to cast ballots, not provisional ballots, if they turn in their mail-in ballots to poll workers.  

To report a problem to the Attorney General's office, Chicago area and northern Illinois voters can call 1-866-536-3496, while those in central and southern Illinois can call 1-866-559-6812.

The Illinois National Guard is also on-call in case of any cyber security threats. Dietrich says so far, there haven’t been indications that they’ll be needed.

But if elections authorities detect a hacking threat to their voter registration database or their website: “They can all us and if we can’t help them through it – we can call in the National Guard and they can have someone at that office anywhere in the state within an hour.”

Polls are open until 7 p.m. Anyone in line by that time can vote.

Residents are also able to register in-person at their polling place. Two forms of identification – including one with a current address – are required.

Mary Hansen is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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