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No Illinois Inquiry into Late Military Ballots

On Friday, the Illinois State Board of Elections will certify the results of November's election. They will do it without an inquiry into why 25 Illinois counties failed to meet the federal guidelines laid out in the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE).

The guidelines mandate that absentee ballots be mailed to soldiers serving overseas 45 days prior to the election. But 2,665 Illinois ballots went out late. Some of them were over two weeks late. The largest concentration of late ballots is from St. Claire County -- 1,200 of them. St. Claire is home to Scott Air Force base.

Despite the absentee ballots being as late as they were, the State Board of Elections along with the Illinois Attorney General and the Department of Justice agreed to extend the deadline for soldiers to get a return postmark on their ballots -- by one day.

Illinois Assistant Republican Leader Rep. Dan Brady requested a hearing with the Illinois Campaign and Election Reform Committee. In a letter to committee members he wrote, "Failure of these counties to meet the deadline jeopardizes the right of thousands of Illinois troops to have their votes counted. This is unacceptable!"

The letter was sent Oct. 25 to Chairwoman Elaine Nekritz (D). In it, Brady suggests the veto session (Nov.16 - Dec. 1) would have been an appropriate time to conduct a hearing because state lawmakers were in Springfield.

Rep. Nekritz never refused to hold a hearing. She just did not honor Brady's request. On Nov. 18 Rep. Brady sent a letter to each of the committee members asking that they persuade Chairwoman Nekritz to assemble a hearing. The session opened and closed. There was no hearing. No one got to the bottom of why soldiers, who fight for freedoms like equal and fair treatment under the law, did not have equal and fair amount of time to receive their ballots and mail them, as the law mandates.

Rep. Brady now says he will pursue legislation that assembles a task force to investigate the failure of county election offices to meet their deadlines.

"Is it creating another layer of bureaucracy? Is there already a committee for this? Is it silly? Yes." Brady tells me. "But thus far the committee has not held hearings and this needs to be addressed."

As of this writing, Rep. Nekritz has not returned calls.

Michael Tobin joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Chicago-based correspondent.