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*** UPDATED x5 - DuPage problem to be “under control” soon - Some DuPage precincts impacted*** Report: 65 Illinois counties have ballot problems - MID-MORNING PRECINCT REPORT

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012

* Illinois Review was the first to report this today

Illinois Review has just been notified that 65 counties in Illinois are facing ballot size problems, according to the Macoupin County Election Clerk.

In 65 of 102 counties, judges will be forced to hand count ballots that are filled in with markers, which is expected to cause delays in counting after the 7:00 PM poll closing. Judges are encouraging the use of touch screens. As a result voting is expected to take longer.

UPDATE: We’re told county election officials are working to get templates to the precinct judges so they can hand cut the ballots down to size to fit into the machines.

I checked with Illinois State Board of Elections Executive Director Rupert Borgsmiller this morning. Borgsmiller said the problem stems from a printing company that different vendors are using.

So far, Borgsmiller said, he hasn’t heard of any big counties that have been effected. “The ones I’ve heard about were from smaller counties.” But he said he didn’t know if any big counties were having trouble.

Borgsmiller also said that he talked to his elections information director, who didn’t seem to indicate that it was a major problem. It’s being dealt with at the precinct level and things should be OK.

We’ll see.

*** UPDATE *** Longtime commenter OneMan says the City of Aurora is impacted by the ballot width problem.

…Adding… I’m hearing that the current suggested workaround is to trim 1/8th of an inch off the side.

…Adding More… Sun-Times

Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen says judges are reporting very light turnout so far.

One Chicago precinct may stay open an hour later because of a problem delivering ballots, but Allen says voting is going smoothly elsewhere.

*** UPDATE 2 *** I’m going to add a ScribbleLive thingy to this post in a minute. So, let’s use it as a mid-morning precinct report. I’ll close the earlier open thread.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rep. Chris Nybo says at least some DuPage precincts are experiencing the ballot-width problem.

*** UPDATE 5 *** From Dan Curry in DuPage County Election Commission…

Problem confined to 23 locations out of 360. Small # of ballots at those 23 locations were too wide to be counted. New ballots are being taken to all those locations and all affected ballots will be counted under statutory procedures that judges are trained to implement.

Entire situation expected to be completely under control by 1 p.m.

All votes will be counted.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:33 am:

    I early voted in Lake County. The ballot fit with no problem. In my little tour of polling places in Southeast Lake County, it seems like we do not have that problem.

  2. - JoeZ - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:37 am:

    Great, another embarrassment for Illinois in the national spotlight.

  3. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:42 am:

    Add DuPage to the ballot width problem.

  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:45 am:

    Makes sense they both use the same reader I think…

  5. - jeff__ing in Chicago - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:49 am:

    At 10 AM I was voter 30 in the 14th. Ran into a neighbor who I have never talked to about politics. He and I were the only ones there voting for 15 minutes. We both voted for Basta not Cassidy.

    The machine is driving us crazy. I got calls from both campaigns the last week. 1 live caller

  6. - Marcus Agrippa - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    Problems with ballots in Winnebago County. Not sure about City of Rockford Bd of Elections. Gonna be a long(er) night with hand counting.

  7. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    The workers in my polling place (Berwyn 5/2) were having a heck of a problem getting the cards for the machine to program. This was at 9am. There was a queue forming to vote and they were starting to foist the paper ballots off on folk. I waited and finally got a machine. The 5 folks in line all took Dem ballots.

    Was approached by poll walkers on my way in to vote. One for Roxie Rochester (well, and Barack Obama though whether she got his consent for her From the White House to the Court House slogan, I’m not sure). I voted for her anyway since she was highly rec’ed by the bar associations (which is how I pick judges). The other was for the Dems. They must’ve been there for Lip’s remaining area, though. I’m now in the 4th (which has made me happy. Thank you Lords of the Remap.)

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    Only three passers @ Truman College in 46th ward — a quadruple polling place.

    One was for judicial candidate Celia Gamrath.

    The other two were from a civic group backing tif reform referenda.

  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    I’m told the Republicans aren’t going to support the 1/8 inch cut, saying at least 2 inches needs to be cut to ensure the tax increase goes away.

  10. - Fed up - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    I heard the Dems rejected any cuts saying people depend on the 1/8 th. anyone in favor of cuts must be part of the 1%

  11. - JN - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    The moderates don’t care about the cuts, so long as government stays out of their polling place.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    “Big Spending Watchdogs” Tout Election Savings with New Machines and Ballots

    “By using the leftover ballot sizes, with the new low-cost machines, I think you will find a very happy electorate.”

  13. - OpenlineBlog - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    Maybe it’s time for ballots to be paper-free…it’s green :)

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    Whoops. Did somebody’s cousin print the ballots? It’s not easy to get something wrong by 1/8th of an inch.

    Hey Fed Up, get your own material.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:38 am:


  16. - TCB - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    @ Willy,

    I LOL’d

  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:42 am:


  18. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    - I heard the Dems rejected any cuts saying people depend on the 1/8 th. anyone in favor of cuts must be part of the 1% -

    I stand with the 7/8.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    “Look, this is a Government Order, even if you are off an 1/8 of an inch, no one’s going to notice. Just cut what YOU think.”

  20. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:55 am:

    Close enough for government work?

  21. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:56 am:

    Unable to agree on cuts, I predict that by the end of the night there will be a lump sum ballot.
    We’ll figure it all out in the fall just like we always do.

  22. - Ken in Aurora - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    I can confirm OneMan’s observation of the issue in Aurora. The election judges are going nuts with it - the sliver that needs to be trimmed is too narrow to do with a paper cutter, so it’s scissors time.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:00 pm:

    TCB, thanks … Michelle, those are too funny!

  24. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    I am feeling disenfranchised by the cuts.

  25. - train111 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:13 pm:

    I want the cuts. We need the cuts, but do it in somebody else’s district. This proposed cut represents a disatrous loss of jobs for my constituents and therefore is a necessary government program. Now that plum program over there in the adjoining district–that is a legitimate place to start cutting.

  26. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    So DuPage county’s problem ballots “will be counted under statutory procedures that judges are trained to implement.”

    Hanging chads, anyone?

  27. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    You guys almost make me wish I hadn’t early voted.

  28. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:23 pm:

    So the bloated ballot crisis is proof that cutting alone will not solve the problem? :-)

  29. - Judgment Day - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    “Whoops. Did somebody’s cousin print the ballots? It’s not easy to get something wrong by 1/8th of an inch.”

    Dealing with ballots, yes it is. The election officials run test after test after test. They have to test for every possible voting combination, and everything has to be checked off and accounted for. And the required record keeping each step of the way is mind numbing.

    Everybody (all the election officials, and the political party reps) all concentrate on all of the different ballot samples - even for a small county, there can be 30-40 different ballot samples. For a County like Kane, DuPage, Lake, it’s easy in the 100’s of ballot samples.

    A couple of years ago, there was an issue in a few Counties where some ballots for some precincts had overall ballot size variations, and this same type of thing happened. So these days, somebody always checks to make sure that overall ballot sizes are all uniform. Solves that particular problem. But probably nobody checked the overall size of the ballots against the particular election voting machines. Oops!

    You ought to see it when they get the paper thickness, or the ink used in the printing, or the tear-off perfs wrong. That’s worse. Or the wiring/power at the voting stations is insufficient.

    There’s always something….

  30. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    Who was the low-bid company that processed the ballots?

  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:32 pm:


    March 13, 2012

    Chicago, IL - Roughly 65 Illinois counties today met to announce their new electronic voting systems and call upon the other 37 counties to follow their lead.

    “I think when this is all said and done on March 20th, we will be on the cutting edge of electronic voting,” said David Shear, spokesman for the group. “We call upon the other counties to join us and realize how important it is to fit in and trim the excess. I know we will get the last laugh on Election Night.”

    Calls to the Ballot Vendor and the Machine Vendor were not returned in time for this report.

  32. - Publius - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    From all of my sources the turnout is really low this year

  33. - Judgment Day - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:42 pm:

    “Who was the low-bid company that processed the ballots?”

    First off, each County Clerk/Election Commission contracts on their own. There’s only a very few vendors crazy enough to get into this business.

    Also, it’s really kind of a beauty contest with the different election systems. It’s not like the election folks have tons of options available to them.

  34. - Anon in BB - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    No problem in my Will County precinct (DuPage Township, precinct 19 - Bolingbrook). At 12:15 p.m., I was voter number 67.

  35. - from dupage - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    Just visited my polling location. The ballot width problem was reported at 6:30am to the DuPage Election Commission. They still have not sent out new ballots. The judges have not been informed that they have to hand count the pile of ballots.

  36. - Voltaire - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 1:47 pm:

    Voted around 12:45 in Precint 25, Ward 44, Cook County. Two other people voting while I did, entire process took five minutes. There wasn’t a line when I walked past on the way to work this morning, but there were a few people passing out fliers (who are now gone).

    My first election since moving to Illinois. Should be a fun one!

  37. - Come on! - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    Still waiting for the list of the affected precincts in DuPage. People are getting impatient. Apparently only 23 are affected but they don’t have it written down.

  38. - Goellner - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 2:05 pm:

    Reports that the Tom Swiss workers got jumped and beaten by Derrick Smith/Jesse White/Walter Burnett workers and muscle.

    West side is hoppin today with violence.

  39. - alex - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 2:06 pm:

    Voted in NE Lake County. Polling place for 4 precincts and about 250 had voted before just noon. It took three tries for the ballot machine to accept my ballot. My other-party spouse reported no problems.

  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 20, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    OK, kids. I’m closing this one out, so move the discussion over to our freshly baked thread:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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