“Thanks for nothing.”

That’s what Morris farmer Connor Greve thought after trying to deposit the $50 tax rebate check he received in the mail from the State of Illinois.  A few days after depositing the check Greve received a letter from his bank saying the check didn’t clear and he was being charged a $12 “returned check” fee.

The payments are part of an election year program launched by Gov. JB Pritzker and his fellow Democrats to issue tax rebates ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars. The checks are arriving as early voting gets underway in Illinois.

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WGN Investigates contacted Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office which issues the checks.   A spokesperson said the check didn’t bounce due to lack of funds.  Instead, the ink likely smeared on the routing numbers rendering the checks worthless.   

“We’ve had about 300 checks returned for that smudged ink issue out of the 2 million rebate checks we have sent out so far,” comptroller’s spokesman Abdon Pallasch said.  “We’ll reissue the checks and will refund any bank fees, though the banks generally issue the credit on their own.”

Greve, who says he’s supporting Pritzker opponent State Sen. Darren Bailey in the governor’s race, said he’s skeptical of the entire program. 

“It’s more trouble than it’s worth from what I can tell,” Greve said. “Buying votes doesn’t seem right anyway but then having the check bounce before the election is mind-blowing that people would let that happen.”