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Feds and state reach deal on 2nd Congressional District election

Updated: January 11, 2013 4:38PM

The U.S. Department of Justice has resolved its dispute with the Illinois State Board of Elections over the handling of votes from overseas military personnel in the special election to replace U.S. Rep Jesse Jackson.

Justice department officials were concerned that U.S. citizens living or working abroad wouldn’t get ballots soon enough before the Feb. 26 primary.

But under a deal filed in federal court, overseas voters will get absentee ballots by Tuesday, and state officials will ensure that any challenges to candidates on the ballot are resolved by the end of the month.

That will give overseas voters 25 days to mail, email or fax their ballots.

Under the deal — which has yet to be approved by a federal court judge — ballots for the April 9 general election will also be mailed to voters by March 8.

Federal law requires that overseas voters receive ballots with the names of all qualified candidates 45 days ahead of both elections, but in a news release Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for Civil Rights, said the deal with state officials “will ensure that these voters can fully participate in the state’s upcoming special primary election and special election.”

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