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Complaint asserts 17-year-old almost did not get to vote

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014 10:12 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – When Leslie Juby’s 17-year-old daughter, Madelyn, went to register to vote in last week’s primary election, she thought it would be simple.

Madelyn Juby, a senior at Geneva High School, went into Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham’s office to register under the grace period – which is up to three days before the election. She had her student photo ID, library card and Social Security card, but she still was told no.

Leslie Juby, a Geneva District 304 School Board member, said several employees told her daughter she could not register because Madelyn Juby did not have an ID with a signature. 

A printout of the clerk’s website listing acceptable forms of identification did not include a requirement for an ID with a signature, Leslie Juby said. After Madelyn Juby called her mother, Leslie Juby went to the clerk’s office and asked to be shown where in the state law does it show a photo ID with signature is required.

“It took an hour total before she could register and vote,” Leslie Juby said. “I found it disheartening. If it had not been for me going down there ... most teens would not fight it; they would just walk away.”

Juby filed a complaint with the Illinois Board of Elections and contacted Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon about it. Bernadette Harrington, in the office of the general counsel for the state board, said the office had not yet received Juby’s complaint.

She said in all, 12,888 17-year-olds who would be 18 in time for the Nov. 4 general election registered to vote under the new law.

“We consider and review all communications that are submitted to this office,” McMahon said in an email response to a question. “However, we do not discuss potential or pending inquiries.”

Cunningham said he did not know about Juby’s complaint and could not comment.

According to the clerk’s website, www.kanecountyelections.org, those registering to vote are required to provide two  forms of identification, one of which must include the current name and residence address. 

Identification shall include, but is not limited to, a driver’s license, Social Security card, employee or student ID card, credit, library or insurance card, selective service card, civic, fraternal, union or professional association membership card, a utility bill or checkbook, according to the clerk’s website.

According to Juby’s complaint letter, eventually a deputy clerk said Madelyn Juby could register using the last four digits of her Social Security number.

“Which is what she had originally provided,” Juby’s letter stated. “My daughter was then able to register and vote. I wonder how many people are prevented from registering to vote because employees of the clerk’s office are unaware of the legal requirements.”

Leslie Juby said by making a formal complaint, the clerk’s employees would receive more training.

“I just want to make sure they train everybody and that nobody gets turned away,” she said. “I did not write this letter to get anybody in trouble.”

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