County clerk responds to election code violation allegations

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TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Clerk is speaking up after he was reprimanded by the State Board of Elections for breaking the election code law.

We told you clerk Aaron Ammons instructed election judges to shut down 10 early voting locations. The problem is, those votes were counted before election day.

Ammons said the policy he used was the policy in place from his predecessor, Gordy Hulten.

Hulten told WCIA that’s not the case. “There’s a way to shut down the early voting locations in a way that does not tabulate the ballots,” he said. Hulten added, he trained Ammons how to do that.

He said the way Ammons did it took some deliberate thought, because Ammons had to give election judges specific instructions on how he wanted them to close the polling locations.

The State Board of Elections says it’s against the law to count ballots, because that’s how elections can be manipulated.

At the end of the day though, Ammons said there was no harm done.

“Now I know the local GOP leadership would like to score political points due to this situation,” said Ammons. “But the truth is the election judges tabulating the votes on Monday night had no impact on the outcome of the election. One of the questions was about whether or not the information generated was witnessed by a Democratic and Republican election judge. It was. The other relevant question is whether or not the results were shared with the public. They were not.”

He did assure voters, though, that this would not happen again.

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