Local Editorials

Our view: Election problems must be fixed

McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan said she has started to address the many issues that plagued Tuesday’s election.

She needs to, because the problems were many and the criticisms widespread. Some even questioned the integrity of the election overall, although McClellan assured voters it was never compromised.

Among the issues on Primary Election Day:

• New electronic poll books that were being used to check registered voters in at some polling locations weren’t working properly, resulting in some voters being turned away and asked to return later.

• When poll workers tried to report problems, the clerk’s office in some cases was not responsive in a timely manner and workers reached answering machines, not people.

• The poll book problem led to an emergency court order keeping all McHenry County polling places opened until 8:30 p.m. But many polling places never got the order, resulting in at least two closing before they were supposed to.

• Some polling places had far too few provisional ballots, resulting in them running out.

• Results were reported incredibly slowly. By the time all neighboring counties were finished reporting results, McHenry County was reporting fewer than 50 percent of totals. Winners of several close races could not declare victory until Thursday evening, 48 hours after the polls closed.

McLellan acknowledged poor communication was a major problem and said she would appoint a communication officer to manage issues in future elections.

Rep. David McSweeney has requested that the Illinois State Board of Elections conduct an investigation into all of these issues in McHenry County. We support McSweeney’s request.

McLellan said she welcomed a Board of Elections review. But McLellan also should reach out to neighboring counties that don’t have the problems McHenry County does. She must review and improve her hiring and training practices.

In short, she must take every step necessary to ensure what happened Tuesday can never happen again.

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