Winnebago county ballot issues delay state senator results


State Senator Christine Johnson

By Joe Palmer

State Senator Christine Johnson was “not quite ready to concede” after a ballot issue in Winnebago county caused delays.

Johnson (R-Shabbona) held a results viewing party at the Jane Fargo Hotel, 355 W, State St Sycamore, Tuesday night. The event was focused on the Johnson’s primary retention bid against State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). The two competed for the recently redrawn Illinois 35th district.

An issue emerged when reports of up to 2,000 improperly sized ballots came from Winnebago county. The ballots were made 1/16 of an inch too big and could not be feed into the tabulation machine, according to the Rockford Register Star.

The oversized ballots were remade by hand with the voter’s selections transferred onto the proper ballots by a contingent of five Democratic and five Republican representatives from Winnebago county.

Senator Johnson said was displeased with the situation as the tallying process ran late into the night, and a significant number of ballots were remade.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Johnson said. “It’s a shame to have such a situation on our hands, where ballots have to be remade.”

The final count of the ballots was not finalized when the event ended at midnight.

Supporters of Johnson at the event lent support to Johnson as it became clear no decision would be made that night.

“I met Christine a few events ago, and found out that she is a really great speaker,” said Brittany Watne, a supporter at the event.

State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) was also in attendance and said it was unfortunate to have two incumbent Republicans in opposition.

“It’ll be a long night for both campaigns. They are both great candidates, and I’ve tried my best to support both in Springfield. It’s something that no candidate likes having to do against a fellow incumbent,” Pritchard said. “I feel strongly that the redistricting rules are in need of change. It’s not fair to the constituents to have such politically motivated district lines that make no sense geographically.”

Johnson said she had a positive outlook going into the election and felt a great attitude from her supporters. In her final address of the night, Johnson said that she was proud of the campaign she ran.

“We had a really tough race, in a David and Goliath type situation,” Johnson said. “I am grateful to all of you for all your support and hard work, and I appreciate the dedication of my campaign members.”

The Syverson campaign could not be reached for comment.