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Clerk’s office disputes teen voting snag

GENEVA – Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham is disputing a complaint that a 17-year-old almost did not get registered to vote, despite having proper identification.

At issue is a complaint from Leslie Juby, a Geneva District 304 School Board member, to the Illinois Board of Elections regarding her daughter Madelyn’s experience trying to register to vote.

State law now allows 17-year-olds to vote in a primary if they will be 18 by the November election.

Juby said Madelyn had her photo student identification, library card and Social Security number – all legally acceptable forms of identification.

But she said Cunningham’s staff kept insisting the teen needed a photo ID with a signature, which is not required.  

Kane County Supervisor of Elections Suzanne Fahnestock said a photo ID with a signature was not an issue.

She said the teen had only the student identification card and did not remember her Social Security number.

“That is not correct,” Fahnestock said of Juby’s complaint. “She did not have two forms of identification. She only had her student ID.”

Juby said Madelyn, a Geneva High School senior, had the last four digits of her Social Security number because Juby herself dictated it to her over the phone when she filled out her registration.

Juby said when she got to the point of signing the registration, she was asked for a photo ID with a signature.

When she did not have it, Juby said the clerk’s staff threw it in the garbage.

“That is not true at all,” Fahnestock said. “We just needed to verify the information. She came back with her mother and ... friend. They were anxious, and we wanted to have answers for them. We said, ‘We want to register your daughter, and we want her to vote.’ ”

Fahnestock said neither Madelyn nor her mother could remember the last four digits of her Social Security number, but a friend who was with her did know them.

“We accepted the last four digits, and we would be able to verify that information,” Fahnestock said. “We were glad she was able to vote.”

Juby disputed that version of events, saying her daughter told election officials that the last four digits of her Social Security number were on the first registration that was thrown away.

“She said, ‘It’s on my other registration – the one you guys threw away,’ ” Juby said. “And they walked over to the garbage and pulled it out to copy down the last four digits on the new voter registration.”

Juby said her goal in making a complaint to the state election officials is for Cunningham’s staff to have proper training in registering 17-year-olds to vote. 

Cunningham said his office keeps track of every complaint that comes in.

“We will go over it,” Cunningham said of Juby’s complaint.

Bernadette Harrington, legal counsel to the Illinois State Board of Elections, said Juby’s complaint was received, and the director of voter and registration services would be in contact with Cunningham’s office.

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