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WATCH: St. Clair County's military absentee ballots sent out two weeks past deadline
The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois voiced his concern Friday about the St. Clair County Clerk's late mailing of nearly 1,300 military ballots.
Mark Kirk said in this neck and neck race with Democratic Challenger Alexi Giannoulias, every vote needs to count.
In front of Scott Air Force Base, Republican Congressmen John Shimkus introduced Republican candidate for Senate, Congressman Mark Kirk, as the one who stands to lose by absentee military ballots getting sent out more than two weeks too late.
"The vast majority of those votes are going to go to Mark Kirk, disenfranchising those ballots could affect the outcome of this election," Shimkus said.
The two want a thorough Justice Department investigation into why Democratic St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney did not comply with a federal law and send out nearly 1,300 ballots by September 18.
"I think the Justice Department looking into this issue is appropriate," Kirk said.
Newspaper reports say Delaney blamed the missed deadline on a pending appellate court ruling on whether Constitution Party candidates should be on the ballot. While Delaney could not be reached for comment, NewsChannel 5 reached caught up with Madison County Clerk Mark Von Nida, who says he was up against the same issue.
"I made my choice," said Von Nida, a Democrat.
Von Nida sent the ballots out on time, despite the conflict.
"It put election officials between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you have the federal requirement to send the ballots out. On the other hand, you have this danger this risk," Von Nida said.
It's the risk of having to reprint and send them out all over again. According to the State Board of Elections, St. Clair County isn't the only one who missed the deadline. Nearly one-third of the state's election authorities failed to ship out ballots to military and overseas voters.
"I think there's no excuse for violating a federal deadline. The law is the law and the law should be complied with," Kirk said.
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