Republicans challenge Illinois law allowing mail-in ballots to be counted after Election Day

Under Illinois law, ballots postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 8, can legally be counted if received by Nov. 22.

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Saturday, October 29, 2022
GOPers try to stop mail-in votes from being counted after Election Day
Republican Congressman Mike Bost is challenging a law allowing vote by mail ballots to be counted after Illinois Election Day 2022.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mail-in ballots are being sorted and stored in a secure facility at the Chicago Board of Elections.

They will be counted on election night.

Under Illinois law, ballots postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 8, can legally be counted if received by Nov. 22.

But downstate Republican Congressman Mike Bost and two GOP officials are challenging the law. They filed a federal lawsuit in May contending that "a qualified ballot for federal office is not a legal vote unless it is received by Election Day."

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A subsequent filing said the state statue is unconstitutional, therefore "Plaintiffs ask the court to declare the Ballot Receipt Statute unlawful and to enjoin Illinois from receiving and counting ballots after Election Day."

The Illinois Attorney General is fighting the lawsuit, and a legal watchdog group called it absurd.

"They seem aimed at making the general public concerned about the state of election integrity in Illinois and beyond," said Ami Gandhi with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

In the last two general elections, the mail-in ballots that were post marked by Election Day and came in during the two week window after only amounted to about 3% of the total votes cast in Chicago.

The Illinois State Board of Elections said instances of voter fraud are minute.

Lawyers for Bost were not available for an interview on Friday, but claim in the lawsuit that he would be irreparably harmed if the Illinois ballot law is allowed to stand.

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Gandhi said the lawsuit has no merit.

"Even the federal government in this very case has weighed in and said that the Illinois state law about vote by mail, including the valid receipt deadlines, are sound and do not violate federal law," Gandhi said.

It's unclear when the judge might rule on the lawsuit.