CHICAGO — Millions of voters in the Chicago area could see a nearly two-week delay in the start of early voting over ongoing candidate ballot challenges, election officials said Monday.
Early voting was slated to start across Illinois on Thursday. However, due to objections to several candidates' paperwork that haven't been resolved, ballots won't be ready on time, said Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen. He estimated early voting will be available Feb. 21, possibly earlier.
"Programming and testing of the equipment in the city's more than 1,000 ballot variations in four languages is still under way," Allen said in a statement.
Election officials in suburban Cook County echoed the same concerns and also gave a delayed Feb. 21 early voting start, meaning roughly three million registered voters — half of them in Chicago — will be affected. Officials in nearby DuPage County, which has over 600,000 registered voters, announced plans Monday to also delay until Feb. 21.
It was unclear how many other locations in Illinois might push back early voting.
Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the decision is up to each jurisdiction. He said state election officials hadn't yet heard from other counties.
State election officials said such delays have happened in the past. Chicago had a similar delay in early voting due to the same reasons ahead of the 2016 primary, Allen said.
One of the unresolved candidate challenges in the March 20 primary involves the office of Illinois attorney general.
A Cook County judge last week ruled that Democrat Scott Drury's name can't appear on ballots over questions about a candidate economic disclosure statement. Drury, a state legislator running for the only open statewide seat, appealed the case Friday. A judge granted a stay Monday, meaning Drury's name can remain on the ballots while the decision is appealed.