Politics & Government

GOP's Kirk wants federal probe of military ballots mailed late

The controversy over St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney's late mailing of nearly 1,300 military ballots led Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, to hold a press conference denouncing Delaney and to press for a federal investigation. Standing outside the gate at Scott Air Force Base, Kirk noted that a 2009 federal law requires military ballots to be sent to troops no later than 45 days before the Nov. 2 election — or a deadline of Sept. 18. Delaney has acknowledged that his office waited until Oct. 4 to mail out nearly 1,300 military ballots, including 223 to troops overseas, because of concerns over having to waste taxpayers' dollars reprinting the ballot. Delaney has blamed the missed deadline on his decision to wait on an appellate court ruling on whether Constitution Party candidates may remain on the Nov. 2 ballot. "I think there's no excuse for violating a federal deadline," Kirk said. "The law is the law, and therefore should be complied with. And therefore the Justice Department looking into this matter is very appropriate." Justice Department lawyers have already started checking to make sure Illinois election officials met the Sept. 18 deadline. Besides St. Clair County, 33 of the state's 110 election jurisdictions have acknowledged sending out late military ballots, state records show. Madison County ballots were mailed on time. Kirk was joined by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, who is up for re-election, and St. Clair County Board member Ed Cockrell, R-New Athens, the Republican candidate for county assessor.

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