Some Voters Weren't Given 2nd Ballot Page in Error at Multiple Chicago Precincts, Officials Say

The second ballot page contained elections related to retention judges and local referendum questions, depending on the precinct

In an error that was reported at nearly two dozen Chicago precincts, some voters were only given the first of two ballot pages when they went to cast their ballots this Election Day. But the Chicago Board of Elections said voters shouldn't head back to finish their vote.

Voters given paper ballots should have received Ballot A and Ballot B but in nearly 24 Chicago precincts, Ballot B was not handed out to some voters, election officials said.

The second ballot page contained elections related to retention judges and local referendum questions, depending on the precinct.

"There was some of this confusion," said CBOE spokesman Max Bever, noting that some judges appeared to be confused by reading provided to election judges.

However, Bever said that in many cases "it was resolved onsite or eventually got to it by election judges."

For those who believe they may have only received one ballot page while voting, Bever said the best course of action is to call Election Central at (312) 269-7870.

"As a general call, if a voter does think that this happened to them, or that they only receive one ballot please call Election Central," Bever said.

How exactly such cases will be handled remains unclear.

"This is where it's a little bit very complicated," Bever said. "If a voter does leave their polling place without completing a vote... it is somewhat difficult to be able to follow up with that voter and tell them what to do."

Adding to the Ballot B problems is the fact that some voters expressed concerns that the felt-tip or "Sharpie" pens they were given to use by poll workers as writing instruments on paper ballots was resulting in ink bleeding through onto the second ballot page.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, those kinds of pens are the "preferred ballot marking method for many voting systems," across the state of Illinois, including in Chicago.

An update from the Chicago Board of Elections update Tuesday noted that it had received several similar complaints from voters regarding bleed through, but stressed that such an event does not lead to a spoiled ballot.

"While there might be bleed through onto the other side of the ballot," said Bever, "it's not lining up with a vote" on the other side."

"If there is an issue, if there's an overcoat or trademarks or other things that are concerning," a machine would spit the ballot back out after it's been inserted, he said.

However, Bever did say the Chicago Board of Elections had receive some complaints that the felt-tip pen used by voters didn't just bleed through onto the other side -- it bled onto "Ballot B."

"From all cases that I can see, the voter was provided a new ballot." That's because, according to Bever, "if a ballot gets damaged in any way, it ultimately gets spoiled." Those spoiled ballots are then stored in a separate envelope and sealed on Election night Bever said.

Bever also noted that ballpoint pens can leave residue that gum up voter machines, and that pencils markings are not recognized by voting machines. That's why, Bever said, voters are asked to only use the voting instrument provided to them by a poll worker.

"Do not bring your own voting instrument from home," Bever said. "Please use the felt-tip pen provided to you by poll workers. Even if it does have a bit of bleed through, it will not present an issue on your ballots."

"But please," Bever continued, "do not put ballot B directly under ballot A if you are voting in person today."

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