- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - Early voting resumed Tuesday in Rockford following its suspension for several hours upon discovery of a second ballot error in less than a week.

The Rockford Register Star (http://bit.ly/1nybLg0 ) reported that dozens of voters were turned away during the shutdown but voting resumed early in the afternoon after special instructions to voters were printed.

Ballots were reprinted at a cost of $50,000 after last Thursday’s discovery that the ballot omitted the race for commissioner of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, said Ken Harper, executive director of the Rockford Board of Election Commissioners.

The second ballot failed to mention that voters could choose as many as two of the three candidates for the forest preserve post. So the election board hastily printed a supplement to hand to voters with that instruction.

“We believe it is legal,” Harper told the Register Star. “It’s weighing between incorrect instructions and disenfranchising the voter by turning them away.”

Republicans, who have a keen eye on the November election, which includes one of the nation’s tightest gubernatorial races, between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP businessman Bruce Rauner, raised a note of concern earlier Tuesday.

A prepared statement by Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider urged officials “to immediately restore the people’s right to vote in a manner that ensures every legal vote is accurately counted” and vowed to closely monitor unfolding events.

Suanne Pfeifer was one voter who was denied the chance to cast her ballot early to avoid Election Day lines. She wasn’t upset, however.

“I would prefer that they get the system fixed,” she said.

The election board must decide how to handle 277 ballots cast before the first error was discovered, and another 248 cast Monday and early Tuesday before the second discovery.

Harper said the board would consult state officials on the matter.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

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