ILLINOIS (KFVS) - There's a very good chance early voting could be late in Illinois, and some absentee voters will be getting a very different kind of ballot in the mail.
There's not much to the ballot military members and overseas Illinois voters will be getting in the mail. There are boxes and lines and that's it. They'll have to write-in who they're voting for and for which office.
Federal law mandates overseas ballots be sent out 45 days ahead of an election, that deadline is on Friday, Jan. 29. The problem is, clerks don't even know which candidates will be on the ballot.
Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt said a flood of objections were filed to keep some presidential candidates off the ballot in Illinois. Until the Board of Elections is able to sort through those objections and send out a certified candidate list, county clerks are in a kind of holding pattern.
"The main ballot layout is pretty much ready to go," Reinhardt said. "It's just a matter of waiting to see who, if anyone, is removed from the ballot; and then doing the final tweaks. Then we'll move as fast as we can to test the machines and test the ballot and get everything ready for everybody to come in."
By everybody, he means people who aren't voting early.
Early voting was supposed to start on Feb. 4, but that's going to be late too.
Reinhardt said the goal is to get early voting up and running the same day as Grace Period voting, which is Feb. 17 if not sooner.
Then he said he'll send out a follow-up ballot to the military men and women so they can vote using the same ballot we do.
Union County Clerk, Terry Bartruff announced on Wednesday, Jan. 27 that the ongoing objections may not be resolved by the State Board of Elections in time for ballots to be prepared and voting tabulators to be programmed for the opening of mail-in and early voting on Feb 4.
Bartruff's announcement came a day after Williamson County Clerk, Amanda Barnes, said the candidate objections could delay early and mail-in voting in Williamson County, as well.
"It is possible that ballots may be available prior to Feb. 17, and if so, we will notify the media and voters through a release and social media," Bartruff said. "It's unfortunate that the compressed filing calendar for presidential candidates and the circumstances of these objections will likely delay our receiving final certifications from the State Board of Elections and affect the opening of voting statewide. Once final certifications are received, we will move as quickly as possible to finalize ballots, program machines and open for voting."
Any person who is a citizen of the United States and will be 18 years of age by Nov. 8, 2016 is eligible to register to vote in the Feb. 16 primary election.
You must have also lived in the precinct you are voting in for at least 30 days and have two forms of valid ID, with at least one that has your current address.
If your latest Voters Identification Card does not reflect your current name or address you must update your voter registration information in order to be eligible to vote in the primary election.
Anyone who misses the Feb. 16 deadline may register to vote or change their address during the Grace Period Registration. The Grace Period Registration runs from Feb. 17 through March 15.
The law requires that during the Grace Period Registration, people must register at the county clerk's office and, if they desire to vote in the primary election, must vote at that time.
Illinois residents may check their registration status or register to vote online by clicking here.
The deadline for registration is March 15.
For further questions, you can reach the Williamson County Clerk's office at 618-998-2112 or the Union County Clerk's office at 618-833-5711.