Attorney General's office to oversee Saline County election foll - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Attorney General's office to oversee Saline County election following complaints

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SALINE COUNTY, Ill. -- Investigators with the Illinois Attorney General’s office have been called to Saline County after county officials voiced concerns that the openness and transparency of this year’s election could be at risk.

Saline County State’s Attorney Jayson Clark said he received a number of complaints Monday morning that County Clerk Kim Buchanan was refusing to allow poll watchers to oversee the processing of early voting results. 

"I came right over here and intervened this morning," Clark said.

Poll watchers are commonly appointed by political parties to ensure fairness and transparency in elections. 

"This is America," Clark said. "We have open elections that everyone gets to watch what happens."

He says this morning was especially important, because due to an equipment malfunction, the county had to rerun all of the early voting ballots through a new machine. 

Clark says after getting the poll watchers inside to oversee the processing, Buchanan kicked them out the moment he left. 

"She didn’t just kick them out, she built a barricade where they couldn’t even see what was going on back there when they were running the ballots through the machine for the second time," Clark said. "That’s pretty egregious."

He says that’s when he got the attorney general’s office involved. 

Investigators forced Buchanan to remove the barricade and allow the poll watchers to do their jobs.

We asked Buchanan why she didn’t allow the poll watchers in, and instead of answering, she tried to have a sheriff's deputy remove us from the elections office, even though it is on public property.

After Clark intervened saying it’s a public building where we’re allowed to shoot video, we reached out to Buchanan multiple times, but she refused to provide answers. 

Clark says the situation is unprecedented during his years in government

When asked if he'd seen anything like this before, he said, "Never."

Clark says that officials with the Attorney General’s office will oversee voting tomorrow to ensure there’s no issues and put any doubts to rest.

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