Election judges and poll watchers were shut out in '16, suit claims; Republican seeks injunction for access

By Ann Maher | Oct 22, 2018

A lawsuit filed Monday seeks an injunction requiring Madison County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza to make election night vote counting open to all election judges and poll watchers.

Plaintiff Jean Bedalow, a Republican from Collinsville, claims that that after polls closed in the 2016 general election, election judges who showed up at 7 p.m. were shut out of the process for counting early votes and absentee ballots by the Clerk's staff.

Bedalow claims that when election judges came to the Clerk's office to monitor the vote counting process, "they were told that the vote counting was already complete and they had no opportunity to monitor the vote counting process."

She further claims that judges and poll watchers who appeared at the SIU Edwardsville precinct to monitor the vote counting process discovered that ballots had been transported to another location "unknown to the election judges and poll watchers so that they were not able to monitor the vote counting process."

Bedalow is represented by G. Edward Moorman of Alton.

The suit specifically asks that election judges and poll watchers not be excluded from the counting process and votes not be counted "behind closed doors." It also asks that the Clerk refrain from moving ballots to "unknown locations without full disclosure" and from counting ballots before polls close, or other times, without full disclosure.

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