Macon County Sheriff Election: Irregularities in Elections (Part 2)

Written by Kristi Shaffer

The 2018 election for Macon County Sheriff was an example of nearly everything that can possibly go wrong in an election. Unsurprisingly, the problems that occurred in Macon County illustrate the issues facing the entire state of Illinois. Elections and election results are often uncertain in Illinois for several reasons, and many of the related problems surfaced in the sheriff’s court case.

As a result of the legal proceedings in the Macon County Sheriff election, the ballots were recounted. The court found 1,337 contested ballots and 57 uncounted ballots. Several issues led to problems with an accurate count:

-election judges did not correctly initial some of the ballots

-ballots raised issues with voter intent due to both undervoting and overvoting

-one ballot had a distinguishing mark

-damaged ballots that came into question were remade

-two uncounted ballots were found on a clerk’s desk

-ballots were cast in excess of ballot applications in certain precincts

Some of the votes in question would be counted, others thrown out. However, after reviewing the evidence, the court determined that Jim Root won the 2018 election. The final vote count was 19,579 for Root and 19,563 for Tony Brown. The election which had been certified for Tony Brown was overturned in court following the decision of Judge Anna M. Benjamin on May 28, 2021. Jim Root took the oath of office as the duly elected Sheriff of Macon County in June of 2021.

The crucial question is how can Illinoisans be sure that we have fair elections, and what have we learned from the Macon County Sheriff race? The first thing voters need to remember is that just because an election is certified does not mean it cannot be questioned and even overturned. A reversal occurred in Macon County and, if there is enough evidence, it certainly can happen elsewhere.

We need to remember that participation is essential. Election judges and poll watchers are vital to the process. All election judges should be properly trained to mark official ballots and follow the procedure as instructed. Any ballot that does not have an election judge’s initials should never be counted. We can ensure that illegal votes are not cast by following procedures and existing laws. Voters should be properly instructed and educated on the voting process as well.

Another election problem is undervoting or overvoting on ballots, which causes confusion as to the voter’s intent. Questionable ballots must be thoroughly scrutinized. In their instructions to voters, election judges need to strongly stress that if a voter makes an error, he or she should ask for a new ballot. When overvotes occur, it leads to officials attempting to determine the voter’s intent. Overvotes in the 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore caused officials to agonize over punch-card ballots and their infamous “hanging chad.” Proper instructions along with easy-to-read ballots could nearly eliminate this problem.

Following existing election laws could easily prevent numerous issues. Officials need to ensure the secrecy of elections while stressing the importance of voter integrity. We must make sure that everyone qualified to vote can do so easily. Nevertheless, we also must be certain that every voter is eligible to vote. Voter identification is a straightforward way to prevent future election problems. Our representatives should support voter ID laws both on the federal and the state level.

Mail-in ballots have required Illinois citizens to request the ballot and receive a signature verification in the past. Nonetheless, laws in Illinois have been subject to change. Laws establishing more mail-in ballots with less oversight are detrimental to our elections’ safety. Citizens must remain diligent, ensuring all submitted ballots have been cast by legally registered voters. We also must be on guard to watch for ballot harvesting. As previously stated, voter rolls must be accessible to ensure that the rolls are not inflated.

In conclusion, fair elections are up to us, the citizens of the state of Illinois. We must be active participants in ensuring that our current laws are followed and that corruption is stopped. Perhaps the most important thing we can do is simply to educate ourselves and vote. In a study conducted by George Barna, it was discovered that a group he calls SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservatives) cast 23 million votes in the last presidential election. We must continue with this level of engagement and encourage other Christians to vote for traditional Christian values.

Take ACTION: As stated in the part 1 of this story, we need election judges and poll workers. Please think about actively protecting the voting process by becoming a volunteer. We also need people to invest their time in watching our voter rolls to ensure they are not inflated with unqualified voters. SAGE Cons should get the word out about upcoming elections by knocking on doors and distributing voter guides and information. We should also demand that our elected officials follow established voter integrity laws and further secure elections with voter ID laws. Finally, we must continue to pray over our cities, state, nation, and our elected officials.

For more information about being a “Guardian of the Vote,” please visit our friends at Illinois Conservative Union and check out their Election Integrity Program to learn how to clean up voter rolls.

Read more:

Texas Audit Finds Over 11,000 Potential Noncitizens Registered to Vote, Other Problems
(The Epoch Times)

Georgia Officials Launch Investigation Into Illegal Ballot Harvesting
(The National Pulse)