MURPHYSBORO — Early voting for the March 20 primary election was scheduled to begin Thursday, but some counties aren’t offering the option due to a candidate ballot challenge at the state level.

On Feb. 2, a Cook County judge ruled that Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Drury should not appear on the ballot due to questions over his filing of an economic disclosure form. Drury is appealing the decision.

Full early voting will not be available in Jackson County until the attorney general case is settled because the clerk’s office does not have programming to count ballots yet, Jackson County Clerk Larry Reinhardt said.

His office will accept requests for absentee and mail-in ballots in the meantime.

“If someone who might be leaving town really needs to cast a ballot at this time, we’ll process them like a mail-in or absentee ballot and seal their ballot, and then once we get devices, we’ll have judges open those and cast those ballots, like we do other absentees as we move forward,” Reinhardt said.

Perry County Deputy County Clerk Yvonne Morris said the office is delaying early voting for now, but will accept requests for absentee and mail-in ballots.

“We’ll wait until the court decides what the final ballot will look like,” Morris said.

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Franklin County Clerk Greg Woolard said people who want to vote early should wait until next week.

“We started (early voting by mail-in ballots) because statutes say we have to, but we’re recommending if people can wait, to wait till next week so we can actually get our machines set up so ballots can be run through the tabulators,” Woolard said.

Representatives from both the Union and Williamson County clerks’ offices indicated that early voting began in those offices Thursday.

“We do have it posted letting them know that the Democratic ballot is not finalized,” Williamson County Deputy County Clerk Daphne Pribble said.

Although the pending decision complicates the process, Reinhardt still encourages people to vote early.

“We always say you never know what may happen. … It doesn’t hurt to get out and vote at your convenience,” Reinhardt said.


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