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Voting delays aren’t all bad

In this age of split-second decision making, two weeks must seem like forever to the voters of Caseyville. It will take that long for St. Clair County election officials to determine whether one of Caseyville’s new trustees is Kent Luebbers or Jackie Mitchell.

Each received 237 votes on Election Day, April 7. But now state election law requires that the county wait until April 21 to count provisional and any late or challenged absentee ballots. Hopefully that will produce a clear-cut winner, and there won’t be a need to flip a coin or break a tie some other way.

That 14-day time lag probably isn’t necessary in a small municipal election like Caseyville’s. No provisional votes – ballots given to people when it’s not clear whether they are registered to vote – were cast there. Six absentee ballots from Caseyville have been received since Election Day. But are more ballots going to straggle in the second week that were postmarked by the deadline of the day before the election? Unlikely.

The waiting may be frustrating, but it does have a purpose. The law exists to help ensure that as many votes as possible get counted. The two-week lag allows for slow mail delivery, and it also gives voters whose ballots were challenged time to produce proof that they were indeed eligible.

In that context, two weeks of waiting doesn’t seem so bad.

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