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Judge Orders Con-Con Rewrite

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A judge in Cook County has ordered election officials across Illinois to stop mailing absentee ballots. That’s because he says the wording of a statewide referendum is, quote, “downright misleading.”

The referendum in question asks voters if Illinois should hold a constitutional convention, where delegates can change the state constitution. It’s on ballots every 20 years. But Cook County Judge Nathaniel Howse says there was a sentence in the referendum that could sway voters. That sentence points out the last time a constitutional convention showed up on the ballot, Illinois voters defeated it. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn is a plaintiff in the case to change the wording.

QUINN: Most importantly I think the people of Illinois need a fair chance to consider a constitutional convention without any kind of biased language put in by insiders.

Quinn’s a long-time supporter of a constitutional convention, but he says that doesn’t influence his opinion on the wording of the referendum.

Meantime, election officials are scheduled to meet with Cook County Judge Nathaniel Howse again tomorrow morning. They need to figure out how to address the changes to the constitutional convention referendum. Cook County Clerk David Orr says it’s too late to reprint ballots or reprogram touch-screen voting machines.

ORR: But if we can give proper notice to each voter as they come in, hopefully that will give more information, because that’s the key here is that, I think the court has ruled and I agree that this is - the wording is not the way it should be.

Orr says he hopes the state election board mails a copy of the newly-worded referendum to Illinois voters.

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