Lawyer says list of rejected ballots should be made public in Lake County

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. — In Lake County 70,000 people have cast early ballots and more than 32,000 voted by mail so far. Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff says the numbers show voters are enthusiastic about the election, but some experts are not enthusiastic about the process.

“That’s certainly higher than it was four years ago, it’s not quite at the level of the presidential two years ago," Wyckoff said.

Election lawyer Ed Mullen says some Lake County voters may be in danger of being disenfranchised because the clerk doesn’t publish a list of people whose ballots have been challenged over things like questionable or missing signatures. Mullen said a list of such people, with their names and addresses included, should be made public.

“The problem is that people are having their votes rejected, they are not finding out about it the way that they should, and they are not understanding how to fix it," Mullen said.

The clerk says it's unnecessary to make the list public because it's not required by statute, while the county does provide a list of individuals who requested a vote by mail ballot and those who return one. If there are issues, the clerk said each voter is contacted directly and given the option of having a hearing, or signing a voter affidavit swearing their vote is authentic.

“We contact each affected voter within 24 hours, we send them written notification that their ballot has been challenged. We give them their explanation – we also offer them the opportunities to resolve that challenge," Wyckoff said.