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Election officials admit stunning ballot error in Illinois assessor's race

Andrea Raila's candidacy had been challenged by her opponents: Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Fritz Kaegi.

CBS Chicago

Last Updated Mar 21, 2018 12:45 PM EDT

CHICAGO -- In a stunning admission, Chicago election officials said Tuesday it erred by sending out a text saying that votes for an assessor candidate would not count. CBS Chicago reports that election judges were incorrectly instructed via text message today that a vote for Andrea Raila was not valid.

"We have thousands and thousands of people who want to come out and cast their vote and they are finding out they can't," Raila said. "I'm calling for an investigation of this process."

Compounding the mistake, flyers stating Ralia's votes would not count were distributed to precincts.

"[The flyer] was sitting on the table as part of the ballot until I insisted it be removed," said voter Danielle Neerghen.

The saga started when Raila was accused of having fraudulent names on her election petition. However, a judge ruled recently that her name should stay on the ballot.

Her candidacy was challenged by her opponents: Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Fritz Kaegi.

While the process played out in court, Raila's name ended up on the early voting ballots.

But voters were given notices saying she was no longer a candidate. Later a judge ruled differently.

The Cook County Board had placed ads in newspapers saying a vote for Raila would not be counted.

Kaegi issued a statement Tuesday afternoon: "We have heard that this error has taken place and affected a small number of precincts, and the Chicago Board of Elections has been proactive in addressing concerns."

Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen explained the city had electronically put in the first text message after a circuit court judge took Raila off the ballot and then forget to change the message after an appellate court reversed the decision last week.