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State Board of Elections advised against Schuyler County’s ballot mistake “fix”

Thursday, Oct 13, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller


Today the Illinois Republican Party was made aware of a ballot issue in Schuyler County, where Early Voters were given ballots containing the name of a former Republican candidate instead of current Republican nominee for Senate Kathy Salvi. As well, over 300 Vote By Mail ballots containing this same defect had been disseminated to Schuyler County voters. Kathy Salvi’s campaign was justifiably upset over this error.

From the Salvi campaign press release earlier this afternoon:

“On Tuesday, October 11th, it was brought to my attention that ballots drafted by the Schuyler County Board of Elections, and approved by the Illinois State Board of Elections, incorrectly listed one of my primary opponents as the Republican nominee for United States Senate. Our campaign legal team immediately took action and worked with the Schuyler County State’s Attorney. While we came to the best remedy - to sequester the hundreds of ballots that were distributed - this does not solve the most pressing problem of election integrity and transparency.”

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy issued the following statement in solidarity with Salvi and her campaign:

“Voters need to have confidence that our election process is conducted fairly and transparently. This is an unacceptable error by the Schuyler County Clerk. While we are lucky that we caught this error early, this doesn’t change the fact that it could very well disenfranchise dozens of her voters. Officials responsible must be held accountable professionally, and Schuyler County must come up with a solution to remedy their mistake and ensure these voters have a say in who represents them in the United States Senate.”

* Schuyler has a total population of about 7,000 people. It’s small, and the number of votes at this early date is even smaller, according to this report in Center Square

In a letter Salvi’s campaign shared with media, her attorney John Fogarty Jr., indicates the Schuyler County State’s Attorney provided information that a total of 45 people have cast early votes using the incorrect ballot.

“I have requested, and you have agreed, that these ballots will be sequestered and processed separately,” Fogarty said.

The letter also indicates 307 vote-by-mail ballots have been mailed out with the incorrect candidate listed.

“I have requested, and you have agreed, that any such returned ballots are sequestered and are not permitted to be counted,” Fogarty said. “You have indicated that while the Clerk’s plan for a remedy is not yet final, it is her current intention to send corrected ballots and an explanatory letter to those three hundred seven (307) voters who have already been mailed an errant Vote By Mail ballot.”

* I reached out to Matt Dietrich at the Illinois State Board of Elections about the plan to unilaterally sequester ballots…

We were told initially that that is what they planned to do and we recommended that they not do that unless they are ordered to do so by the courts. There have been 45 early votes cast so far and, barring a court order to do otherwise, any votes for Hubbard will be disregarded when tabulation begins at 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Schuyler County plans to re-send the 307 vote-by-ballots that have been sent to voters so far with an explanation of the ballot error and instructions to re-submit the ballot if a voter so chooses. Though some 200 vote-by-mail ballots had already been completed by voters and returned to the clerk’s office, none of those ballots had been processed for tabulation. They remain sealed in the signed, secure envelopes in which they were returned. Those ballots will be held pending replacement by the corrected ballots.

* Illinois Review gets all breathless

“This is national news,” the insider said. “How many more votes would have gone to Kathy Salvi if her name had been on the ballot as it should be?” […]

Will the Schuyler County ballot blunder affect the US Senate race and possibly the delicate political party balance of the now-tied US Senate?

I’ve said it before, but maybe it’s time the state looks at regional election authorities and get away from its current hyper-localized system, which can be comically inept at times.

…Adding… The State Board of Elections pushes back on Salvi’s statement…

The statement issued yesterday on the Schuyler County ballot error states that the Illinois State Board of Elections approved the county’s incorrect ballot:

Kathy Salvi said: “On Tuesday, October 11th, it was brought to my attention that ballots drafted by the Schuyler County Board of Elections, and approved by the Illinois State Board of Elections, incorrectly listed one of my primary opponents as the Republican nominee for United States Senate.

The ballot certification that we sent to all local election authorities on Aug. 26 was correct. The printing error was made at the local level subsequent to our certification. The Board of Elections does not approve local ballots after certification. If possible please amend the candidate’s statement to make this clear.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 9:38 am:

    –This is an unacceptable error by the Schuyler County Clerk–

    While there is the old chestnut of “never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence”, I’m a little suspicious of this particular incident.

    Hubbard has spent the past few months pushing on the rope of election fraud to explain her loss in the primary. It would not surprise me in the least if her name wasn’t put there by mistake, but by a local official who has fallen for the lies and knowingly put Hubbard on the ballot to push back against what they think was fraud perpetrated against Hubbard during the primary.

    Perhaps the Illinois Attorney General should be involved in this situation as well.

  2. - Gen Z Opinionater - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    Federal and State election authorities should definitely manage ballots rather than localities. That being said, considering that there has been a push across the country to make voting harder in many states, I worry about what that process would look like if anti-democracy Republicans were in charge of the process.

  3. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 9:49 am:

    Curious about Salvi’s assertion that the ballot was drafted by Schuyler County but approved by ISBE.

    If that’s true, then what is the ISBE ballot checking process to ensure that errors like this do not happen? How many people are involved and what redundancies are built in to prevent errors?

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 9:59 am:

    ===if her name wasn’t put there by mistake, but by a local official who has fallen for the lies and knowingly put Hubbard on the ballot===

    It’s way too early to be that drunk. The clerk is a Democrat, for one. Multiple people missed this error, for two.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    The human element means errors, but in that same thought they human element allows for correcting such errors as found.

    To an overall, not directly to the post,

    The discussion to election integrity and fair and free elections, the significant tally of votes, will these 300, in this instance, be within the margin to decide the election, time will tell that story, but here’s the thing, overt and overwhelming election fraud, fraud so egregious that the outcome is changed, there is no discussion to that nor should there be.

    There’s no conspiracy existing now, or in the weeks ahead, to change outcomes or making less anyone’s vote or invalidate one’s vote in an overwhelming fraud… in Schuyler County.

    It’s clear that the political take to the mistake is to sow the idea that fraud at the polls is “real” and “maybe” purposeful, because that is a pillar to this ILGOP brand.

    My hope is this blip will be the only blip of this nature.

  6. - Arsenal - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 10:15 am:

    ==It would not surprise me in the least if her name wasn’t put there by mistake, but by a local official who has fallen for the lies and knowingly put Hubbard on the ballot to push back against what they think was fraud perpetrated against Hubbard during the primary.==

    Maybe, but the Schuyler County Clerk is (perhaps surprisingly) a Democrat. I do actually know some Dems who have fallen for Trump’s stolen election crap, but it’s a tiny minority of them. Balance of probabilities is that the clerk isn’t on Hubbard’s side.

  7. - Socially DIstant watcher - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    The State Board is absolutely correct to push back hard on the idea that they approved any of this. A local screwed up in a small Republican county. With all the bs efforts to sow doubt about the process, the Salvia campaign should retract and revise their false statement.

  8. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    Appreciate the ISBE’s clarification and not at all surprised to learn that Salvi was misinformed or lying, and that the IL GOP amplified it.

    Would-be totalitarians know the truth matters. That’s why they work so hard to try and obliterate it.

  9. - northsider (the original) - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    It happens. While not as obvious as printing the wrong name, the infamous Palm Beach County “Butterfly Ballot” resulted in Pat Buchanan receiving about 3500 votes likely intended for Al Gore. George Bush carried Florida by 525 votes.
    The county official in charge was a Democrat & her innocent and honest mistake changed the course of history.
    Somehow I don’t think the Schuyler County mistake is going to have the same impact.

  10. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    –Balance of probabilities is that the clerk isn’t on Hubbard’s side.–

    Likely true, but that also likely is not the case for everyone working in that office. The clerk is responsible for what happens in the office at the end of the day.

    Accident or not, a high standard of performance is to be expected, and someone should no longer be working in that office when the dust settles. Who that ends up being will be determined by the investigation the clerk will hopefully be undertaking. Brushing it aside as just an accident and then doing nothing would be an incorrect response.

  11. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:16 am:

    ===Would-be totalitarians know the truth matters.===

    Nice drive by. Candidate Salvi is now labeled a totalitarian for legitimately complaining that her name is not on the ballot?

  12. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:18 am:

    Give Salvi all registered voters’ votes in Schuyler County.

    Won’t change a thing.

  13. - Groucho - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    I don’t care for the solution. Holding my ballot off to the side because you gave me the wrong ballot to start with would upset me. You have two weeks to visit 45 people at their residences and bring them a correct ballot, an explanation and an apology. You may not be able to reach all forty-five, but everyone you reach is one less ballot sequestered. As far as the 307 absentee requests. Call each one directly, just don’t mail them a second letter they may not read it and may put it straight into the garbage.

  14. - bored now - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:53 am:

    this is an unacceptable error. but. lots of elections offices are overwhelmed by FOIA requests and employee “insurrection” quitting. dunno that this is the case here, but before i jumped to too quick conclusions, i’d want to know if there are circumstances that explained the error. it’s a weird one to make and suggests that they may be overwhelmed atm…

  15. - Colors of Fall - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    Louis you’re trying to obliterate the truth. The comment was made about salvis claim that isbe approved it which they didn’t. Nobody said she can’t complain about her name not being on the ballot. But you knew that.

  16. - H-W - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    Much ado about nothing.

    An elected official, a County Clerk, made a mistake. Just fix the problem.

    This is a small county of roughly 7,000 residents. It is 70% Republican. If the locals want to replace the County Clerk, they can do so.

    This however is not “national news.” This is almost certainly, a silly screw-up, which can be fixed.

    The idea that this is an instance of a democratic clerk, trying to rig an election, is pretty far-fetched. Someone made a mistake, it was not caught until after the printing, and it was caught before election day.

    There are bigger crises in Illinois than Schuyler County’s misprinted ballots that were caught in time to fix the problem.

  17. - God's Country - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    While the buck stops with the Clerk, in Illinois most ballots are coded and created by one of three vendors. The vendor should have known who the proper candidate was and brought it to the Clerk’s attention. Sloppy all the way around.

  18. - Huh? - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    Wailing about election fraud to begin in 3 … 2 … 1 ….

  19. - XonXoff - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 12:52 pm:

    == Wailing about election fraud to begin in 3 … 2 … 1 …. ==

    Yeah, this reminds me of when the washing machine enters the spin-cycle and the load is horribly out of balance.

  20. - JS Mill - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    Better solution, send all 307 new ballots and count the new and the old.

    It will make that much of a difference.

  21. - btowntruthfromforgottonia - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 4:02 pm:

    Right next door to me in Forgottonia.
    Some people got lazy and didn’t proofread and check the ballots it appears.

    But it isn’t as big of a deal as the Illinois Review and ILGOP think.
    Heavily Republican voting county.
    Methinks the vast majority of people who voted Hubbard would vote for any name next to an (R).

  22. - Robert Bobby - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    Hubbard won the county by almost two to one so maybe folks would be more inclined to vote for her rather than Salvi.

  23. - Formerlytommie - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    It’s Schuyler County, Salvi should be happy the deer can’t vote.

  24. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 5:56 pm:

    –Some people got lazy and didn’t proofread and check the ballots it appears.–

    And then those same people ignored the advice of the State Board of education.

    It’s not just ‘one lazy mistake’ here.

  25. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 5:57 pm:

    ugh autocorrect.

    State Board of Elections, that is.

  26. - AcademicUnionStateEmployee - Thursday, Oct 13, 22 @ 6:59 pm:

    The Western Bloc strikes again.

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