Illinois GOP seeks to block DOJ consent decree

This may be the beginning of a trend - the Illinois GOP has intervened in the settlement between the DOJ and Illinois.  The Illinois GOP claims, as this blog and many have, that the proposed consent decree does not adequately protect military voters. One wonders why groups in other states did not intervene in other inadequate consent decrees.  They want more than a one day extension of the deadline in Illinois.  The press release:

Illinois GOP Intervenes in Military Ballot Delays

IL GOP: Not Hard to Figure Out

(CHICAGO) – Illinois Republican Party General Counsel Brien Sheahan today said a consent decree between the Obama Administration and the Illinois State Board of Elections does not go far enough to address delays in mailing absentee ballots to members of the armed forces serving overseas. Nearly one third of Illinois Counties mailed over 2,600 military and overseas ballots late. Sheahan said the Party plans to file a motion to intervene in order to extend the deadline for accepting and counting military ballots in Illinois.

“This consent decree would give our servicemen and women just one extra day to mail their ballots, and up to three additional days to have their ballots counted when some election authorities were nearly three weeks late in sending the ballots,” said Sheahan. "For many soldiers serving in Iraq and Afganistan a two or three week delay in receiving their ballot could be the difference in having their vote count or not count."

Under the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE), absentee ballots should have been mailed 45 days prior to Election Day to overseas troops, or September 18. Illinois law requires ballots to be prepared 60 days before the election. "Under state and federal law there is simply no reason why military and overseas ballots should have been mailed even one day late," according to Sheahan.

Some election authorities in Illinois were up to 20 days past the deadline in sending out their ballots. “Where’s the justice from the Justice Department?” Sheahan asked. “Our servicemen and women should be given every opportunity to ensure their ballots are counted.”

“This really isn’t that hard to figure out,” said Sheahan. “We have early voting and other ways to make it easy for everyone here at home to vote. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to allow someone serving overseas that same opportunity?”

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