"It's a disgrace," said Beverly Perlson of the group Band of Mothers when she learned that soldiers from Illinois were only going to get a one-day extension on the deadline to get their absentee ballots postmarked, despite them being printed and mailed as much as two weeks late.
"These guys are fighting, dying and losing limbs on the battlefield. How do you think this makes them feel?" She shouted rhetorically.
Representatives of the Department of Justice met with representatives from the State of Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Elections and, according to a source, representatives of The Illinois Attorney General. They produced a consent decree which extends the deadline for the postmark on absentee ballots from November 1 to November 2. This in the face of 35 Illinois counties failing to mail their absentee ballots 45 days ahead of the election as mandated by the 2009 Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE).
The State Board of Elections reports that 2,665 ballots were mailed late. More than 1,200 of those are from St. Clair County, home of Scott Air Force Base. The ballots were printed late due to a court challenge, because a third party wanted to get on the ballot. The counties did not want to incur the expense of printing and mailing, only to cause confusion if they needed to print and mail a second ballot. So, they missed the September 18th deadline to get the ballots out to absentee voters, a group that includes fighting men and women overseas.
The Illinois Republican Party will file a motion to intervene as early as Thursday. The intervention will call on equal protection actions; that each citizen has a fair an equal amount of time to vote. They will also recognize the 45 day mandate under the MOVE act and call on Illinois election code, which grants an additional 14 days to count the ballots.
"The message we want to send, is that there are people back here who care," said Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. "We will get this taken care of."