MOUNT CARMEL — Early voting is now open for the Illinois Primary Election. Wabash County voters can vote at the Wabash County Clerk's Office Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Illinois Primary Election will take place on March 20.

However, the state's four most-populous counties have delayed the start of in-person early voting, with Cook and DuPage Counties waiting until as late as Feb. 21 in order to get final decisions on several candidate challenges. Lake County plans to start Feb. 16 and Will County election officials say they'll keep voters updated on their website and hope to be ready within days of a decision. But elsewhere, particularly in smaller counties downstate, clerks proceeded Thursday, offering caveats to voters who want to cast ballots. The result could be confusion for voters.

One candidate ballot challenge has statewide impact. A judge ruled Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Drury can't be on the ballot over questions about his filing of a candidate economic disclosure statement. However, his name will be allowed to remain while he appeals. If Drury is ultimately ruled off, votes for him won't be counted, though he could still run as a write-in candidate.

The Illinois State Board of Elections did not have the total number of counties that were delaying but executive director Steve Sandvoss sent a note Wednesday seeking notification from those that weren't going to start on time. Though the decision to delay is up to each jurisdiction, he "strongly encouraged" them to start early voting in a "timely manner."

Fallout from a delay in early voting could be tough to gauge.

Campaigns involved in the March 20 primary haven't been pushing the option the same way as years past and turnout in midterm primaries, with contests for statewide offices such as governor and congressional races, is usually low.

In 2014, roughly 18 percent of the state's approximately 7.5 million registered voters cast primary ballots. In the 2016 presidential primary, Illinois had far higher turnout at roughly 46 percent.

Wabash County Contested Race

There is one contested race in Wabash County and that is on the Republican Primary Ballot. Wabash County Sheriff Derek Morgan is running for re-election against Jimmy McVaigh.

McVaigh is a Mount Carmel resident and currently runs McVaigh Welding and Gun Shop. His law enforcement experience includes being the Edwards County Chief Deputy for 15 years and working for the Albion Police Department for three years. He is a fire arms instructor and teaches conceal and carry classes. He was also a juvenile officer in Edwards County.

McVaigh said he believes there are things that need to be changed in law enforcement in Wabash County. "There is not enough being done to tackle the drug issue in the county, especially in the schools. I have heard a lot of stories about drugs in the high school and I can't just stand around and watch it happen," said McVaigh.

McVaigh has been told by students that they get a 24 hour notice as to when the drug dogs will be at the school. "They should have no notice. The point of the search is to find drugs." McVaigh said he wants to start a juvenile program in Wabash County. "For example, if the drug dog finds drugs at the school instead of the student going through the court system they would go into the juvenile program. The officer sits down with the student and the parents and discuss punishment, such as, community service. The student would also get guidance and help. The goal is to get kids away from drugs and help them without them getting a criminal record," explained McVaigh.

Other issues McVaigh would like to address is open communication between the Sheriff's Department and the community. "If elected I would like to have Town Hall meetings open to the public so we can talk about issues and address concerns. I want the community to know I will have an open door policy and will be available 24 hours not just 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.," McVaigh said. "For the election I have been visiting with people in the community and listening to their concerns. I want them to know that I care about the issues in our county and I want to help fix them."

McVaigh said while working as the Chief Deputy for Edwards County he had 314 arrests with 309 convictions. "It is important to build strong cases that you can hand over to the State's Attorney in order to get a conviction. The Sheriff also needs to have a good working relationship with the State's Attorney in order to but the criminals behind bars."

Better policing of sex offenders is another issues McVaigh would like to address if elected. "There are definitely some issues in regards to making sure sex offenders are being monitored properly. That is something I will work on if elected."

"I am running because I don't like what I see going on in the county and I would like the opportunity to come in and help fix the drug issue and help our young people. I also want to work within the community so the residents of Wabash County will know they can come talk to the Sheriff if they have an issue," said McVaigh.

Wabash County Sheriff Derek Morgan, in his first term as Sheriff, is seeking re-election. Morgan became a Wabash County Sheriff Deputy after graduating in 2003 with a degree in administration of justice. Morgan said some of his accomplishments through his first term of being Sheriff include updating areas of the courthouse and the jail while staying within the confines of the slimmed down budget. Also, the capacity of the jail was expanded and stop sticks were purchased for the department.

Morgan obtained grants for the K-9 and K-9 vehicle, AADs and expanded training for officers.

One of the issues Morgan would like to continue to tackle if re-elected is the drug issue in Wabash County. "We have a strong methamphetamine problem in the county right now, also we are starting to see some heroin coming in. We need to get ahead of it and continue working to make arrests in drug use and production. I want to continue to make Wabash County a safe place to live and work," Morgan said.

There will be a more in depth interview with Morgan in The Mount Carmel Register Wednesday edition.

Republican Primary Ballot

State of Illinois Races

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

* Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti

* Jeanne Ives and Rich Morthland

Attorney General

* Erika Harold

* Gary Grasso

Secretary of State

* Jason Helland

Comptroller

* Darlene Senger

Treasurer

* Jim Dodge

Representative in Congress, Fifteenth Congressional District

* John M. Shimkus

Representative in the General Assembly, One Hundred and Ninth Representative District

* David B. Reis

* Darren Bailey

Wabash County Races

Wabash County Sheriff

* J. Derek Morgan

* Jimmy L. McVaigh

County Commissioner

* Timothy R. Hocking

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 3

* Bill Hudson

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 5

* Ed Hicks

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 8

Joseph B. Judge

Judicial Race

Judge of the Appellate Court

* David K. Overstreet

Democratic Primary Ballot

State of Illinois Races

Governor and Lieutenant

* JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton

* Chris Kennedy and RA Joy

* Daniel Biss and Litesa E. Wallace

* Bob Daiber and Jonathan W. Todd

* Tio Hardiman and Patricia Avery

* Robert Marshall and Dennis Cole

Attorney General

* Pat Quinn

* Renato Mariotti

* Scott Drury

* Nancy Rotering

* Kwame Raoul

* Jesse Ruiz

* Sharon Fairley

* Aaron Goldstein

Secretary of State

* Jesse White

Comptroller

* Susana A. Mendoza

Treasurer

* Michael W. Frerichs

Representative in Congress, Fifteenth Congressional District

* Carl Spoerer

* Kevin Gaither

State Central Committeewoman, Fifteenth Congressional District

* Vivian Robinson

* Tonya Loker

* Rena Elkins Bever

* Diana K. Douglas

* Germaine Light

State Central Committeeman, Fifteenth Congressional District

* Brandon Phelps

Representative in the General Assembly, One Hundred and Ninth Representative District

* Cynthia Given

Wabash County Races

County Clerk

* Janet Will

County Treasurer

* Beverly J. McBride

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 2

* Stephen G. Sawyer

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 6

* Sandra Ward

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 7

* Julia Lynn Wheeler

Precinct Committeeman, Mount Carmel District 8

* Patricia (Trish) Snow

Regional Office of Education

Regional Superintendent of Schools (Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Pope, Saline, Wabash, Wayne and White Counties)

* Elizabeth (Beth) Rister

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