SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — A bipartisan group of election officials gathered in Urbana on Wednesday to push back against misinformation around voter fraud.
“This is an effort to remind you that in Illinois, we have the strength of local management, local oversight of our elections process,” Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said.
Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons pushed the importance of vote by mail, and assured the public of the safety of the system. He cited data from the Brennan Center for Justice showing how rare voter fraud is in the United States.
“The Brennan Center for Justice found that the rate of voter fraud is less than 0.0025%,” Ammons said.
He also downplayed the issues the county has faced in the past few election cycles, including long wait times and a lawsuit over the mishandling of ballots in 2022, and a reprimand from the Illinois Board of Elections for counting ballots early in 2020.
“I think the mistakes or the errors or misinformation that you may be describing has not made the voters of Champaign County reluctant or untrustworthy of this process,” Ammons said.
Champaign County is one of only a few counties in the state that allows any registered voter in the county to vote at any polling location. In 2022, that system quickly led to a back up with long wait times, and officials sending voters to other polling locations entirely.
On Election Day, Ammons said the slow down was the result of a cyber attack, but later walked that back. Ammons said the system is ready to go for 2024, but did not give any specific improvements the county is making.
“As far as our system, our voter registration system, or what we’re using, those things are all staying the same,” Ammons said. “But there can be some little subtle things like adding more people if we have the space to add more election judges for processing stations.”
Early voting begins on Feb. 8, 2024. The primary election is on March 19.