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Allen: “It’s a steaming heap of letter”

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014

[Comments now opened.]

* Jim Allen with the Chicago elections board appeared with Rep. Tom Cross’ attorney Bill Quinlan on Fox Chicago Sunday with Mike Flannery to discuss Quinlan’s letter to the board alleging irregularities in the counting process and the board’s detailed response. And, yes, that’s the same Bill Quinlan who served as Rod Blagojevich’s chief counsel back in the day. It’s a must-watch

* Meanwhile, the latest from Scott Kennedy

UPDATE: 11/15 (11:00am)

I checked every election authority that has public data on a website this morning and the only further update was in Clark County where 3 new votes were added, all for Tom Cross. The new margin is Cross by 381 votes.

Also, Tom Kacich of the Champaign News-Gazette has some more information about the votes expected to be made public early next week in east central Illinois.

Later this afternoon I will have some info on what to expect this upcoming week when the clerks finalize their totals.

* From Kacich

Hundreds of new votes will be counted in East Central Illinois next week in the state treasurer’s race, where Oswego Republican Tom Cross holds a thin lead over Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs.

Most of the new votes, though, will come from Champaign County.

County Clerk Gordy Hulten said Friday that he expected between 475 and 500 new Champaign County votes would be added to the existing totals when late-arriving absentee and provisional votes are counted Tuesday morning. […]

In Champaign County, Hulten said, it appears there will be 325 late-arriving absentee ballots to count, plus about 150 provisional ballots. The Frerichs campaign hopes those ballots equal or exceed the 52.85 percent that Frerichs had unofficially in his home county on election night.

* Moving right along, the Frerichs campaign is trying very hard to shift the media’s focus away from Chicago and onto Downstate. I’m not sure they’ll ever win that argument. But it’s clear to me that they, at least, don’t want to make this about the votes left to count in Chicago and Cook County…

Updated vote totals released [yesterday] by the Frerichs campaign show him trailing Republican Tom Cross by only 312 votes as tallies came in across downstate Illinois. The downstate Democrat has received nearly half a million votes from the 95 counties of downstate Illinois, a number the Democrat says he must breach in order to win the hotly contested election. Current unofficial totals from all 110 election authorities across Illinois give Frerichs 498,225 votes in downstate Illinois, compared to: 477,439 in Chicago; 353,055 in suburban Cook County; and 342,309 in the six collar counties of DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall and Will.

The Frerichs campaign says that as vote totals from mail-in ballots have been tallied in recent days from downstate Illinois, Frerichs has performed better than they had expected in downstate counties. In addition, Frerichs’ campaign notes that they have actually edged out Cross in ballot-counting in Republican-controlled Kane County since election day, receiving 1020 votes to 1015 for Cross. Frerichs says that while there are still tens of thousands of ballots to be counted from Rockford to Illinois’ southern tip of Alexander County, the current trend is in their favor.

“Mike Frerichs is from a farming family in downstate Illinois, we ran a positive campaign focused on his efforts to boost the economy, and we worked hard to earn the vote of downstate Illinois,” says campaign spokesperson Dave Clarkin. “Polls leading up to Election Day showed this race statistically tied, and the vote totals have seesawed back and forth as tens of thousands of ballots have been counted. However, those vote totals have clearly been seesawing in our favor all across the state, and it is a trend we hope to see continue as the tens of thousands of remaining ballots are counted.”

Yes, they’re not doing too badly in Downstate, but it’s my view they can say the “current trend is in their favor” (although it remains to be seen whether that’s true) because a ton of votes are not yet counted in Chicago and Cook.

…Adding… A quick e-mail from Kevin Artl…

I appreciate the “downstate roots” argument, but c’mon. There is no reason to suggest the spreads on these counties will significantly change when their remaining votes are counted. Furthermore, the spreads are very solid for Cross, overwhelming double digit wins across every downstate media market. In fact, Frerichs lost every media market outside of Chicago by double digits, including 6 by 20 points or greater, even though his campaign outspent Cross almost 6:1 on downstate TV.

    Mike Frerichs hometown media market (Champaign/Springfield/Decautr): Cross wins 57-39
    Evansville: 70-26
    Paducah: 59-35
    Peoria: 59-37
    Quad Cities: 53-42
    Quincy: 61-35
    Rockford: 59-37
    St. Louis: 55-40
    Terre Haute: 67-29

Media market info is from Scott Kennedy’s site.

Frerichs won 6 counties.

Cook, Vermillion (Senate District and only by a few hundred), Champaign (Senate District), Rock Island (few hundred), Alexander and Fulton. The largest spread was obviously in Cook (Chicago included), the rest were all single digit spreads.

Vermillion, Champaign, Rock Island, Alexander and Fulton account for about 16% of the remaining votes to be cast in the Collars and Downstate. The 96 counties Cross won (the overwhelming majority by double digits) account for 84% of the remaining votes to be counted outside of Cook and Chicago.

…Adding More… It never ends with these guys. Frerichs campaign…

Tom Cross stated time and gain he needed to garner 20 percent of the vote in Chicago to win, while the Frerichs campaign believed we had an opportunity to outperform in downstate Illinois. Tom Cross came up short in Chicago with only 19.47% on election night (compared to 20.6% for Rutherford in 2010), while we are largely succeeding.

In downstate, Tom Cross is performing 2% lower and 60,000 votes worse than Dan Rutherford did in 2010, while Mike Frerichs is receiving tens of thousands of more votes than Democrats did in 2010 in downstate. For example:

    Dan Rutherford won Champaign County by 12,000 votes in 2010, Mike Frerichs is on pace to win it by 5,000 this year, a 17,000 vote net loss for Cross.

    Cross is winning Adams County on the other side of the state with 63% of the vote, but Dan Rutherford won it with 69% of the vote, a net loss of 3,000 votes for Tom Cross.

    That is not to say that there were not bright spots for the Cross campaign downstate on election day, but on the whole Tom Cross under-performed Dan Rutherford (a downstate candidate) by 60,000 votes downstate and 140,000 votes statewide.

In downstate, Frerichs has seen a net gain of 235 votes since election day. The Cross campaign correctly point out that is not statistically significant to the overall vote total. What is significant is that Tom Cross needs the downstate mail-in and provisional ballots to go sharply in the other direction and they are not. Moreover, there is no reason to expect provisional ballots to trend sharply in Tom Cross’s favor downstate. If anything, we expect same-day ballots cast from Rockford to SIU-Carbondale and from SIU-Edwardsville to Danville to trend even more in Frerichs’ favor.

Mike Frerichs is currently receiving more votes from downstate than from the city of Chicago, a trend that will hold.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 6:07 am:

    In general, I’d say, public servants have been suffering from the general belief of the uninformed and ideological, that they are all incompetent takers. It’s nice to see a public employee as competent as Jim Allen forcefully take down the FUD being peddled by Cross’ paid babbler. Quinlan was eviscerated by a clearly outraged Allen, who came armed with facts, rebutting Quinlan’s mumblings point by point. He also clearly states that the 99 votes intermingled with 486 legitimate votes are an issue as Rich has already detailed. So much of an issue that the person responsible for the error has already been fired. If the final count ends up within 590 votes, than this will need to go to court for a judge to apportion, according to established procedures, those 486 legitimate votes. Its going to court in no way, however, implies that allegations of vote fraud are anything more than, as Mr. Allen says, “a heaping pile of…letter”.

  2. - Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 7:03 am:

    After watching the clip, I can’t understand why Quinlan went on TV. Allen beat him like a rented mule.

    Plus, Flannery is his own local guy, he’s not part of the national Fox Eternal Victim Crew inclined to take every fact-free conspiracy theory at face value. They’re all working on War on Christmas stories these days, anyway.

    Seriously, Cross couldn’t find a mouthpiece who wasn’t Blago’s government lawyer?

  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 7:42 am:

    Hiring Rod Blagojevich’s chief ethics officer as your attack dog on government ethics is just about the most deranged decision I think I have ever seen.

    I have some sympathy for the Cross campaign. Every losing campaign goes through the five stages of loss on election night, usually in about 30 minutes and behind closed doors.

    For Cross, that normally private process is playing out in full public view in slow motion.

    They have gone from denial, to anger, and now apparently bargaining.

    Hopefully they will realize that and stop drawing attention to themselves for the next two days.

    If Kirk for some reason decides not to run, Cross’s name is already being floated, and he can always make a run at AG in four years. But not if he continues to damage the reputation he has tried to build. It may play with the base, but independents do not like a sore loser, and they don’t want the election dragged on for another six months or a year either.

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:17 am:

    === they don’t want the election dragged on===


    1) I doubt most people care who the treasurer is or if we even have one.

    2) Cross is making the case - which you haven’t rebutted - that he’s dragging this out because of potential Chicago vote fraud. I’m pretty sure that most folks would be sympathetic to that allegation - even though it doesn’t appear to be true.

  5. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:18 am:

    Chicago is so thoroughly BLUE and so large it isn’t too difficult to find enough Democratic votes to put a Democrat over the top in a close race. It just takes a lot of time and effort. Really close races like this one is worth the effort.

    You knew that Mr. Cross. If you don’t cross the 20% threshold line in Chicagoland - you are beat.

  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:40 am:

    ===If you don’t cross the 20% threshold line in Chicagoland - you are beat.===

    Right now, Cross is at 19.42 percent in the city. Rutherford took 20.63 percent four years ago.

  7. - Mia Wallace - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:47 am:

    Omg this is amazing… So YDD, Cross should concede? Last I checked on the vote counting he is still ahead? And since nobody really knows how many votes will actually count in Chicago, or how many votes are still to be counted downstate, you think he’s damaging himself by not conceding? gimme somma dat koolaid you drinking

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:54 am:

    Rich -

    If Cross is trying to make the case that he is dragging this out because of potential Chicago vote fraud:

    1) Bill Quinlan - Rod Blagojevich’s chief ethics officer - is the wrong guy to do it;

    2) He’s doing an awful job if the top GOP lawyer finds the accusations embarrassing.

    As for a “rebuttal,” VM said it better than me. Cross needed to get 20% in the city, according to his own, very public campaign strategy. He came up short, finishing, what a full two percent behind Rauner?

    As Scott Kennedy pointed out, it was independents voting Rauner-Skopek that led to Rauner finishing two points ahead of Cross.

    Does anyone really need to rebut the conspiracy theory that Democratic Committeemen somehow stuffed the ballot boxes with Rauner-Skopek ballots?


    Again, I think the Cross campaign should be afforded some privacy during their time of grief, but like Rod Blagojevich, they continue to seek press opportunities.

  9. - Put the Fun in unfunded - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:03 am:

    When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both are against you, argue public policy - or vote fraud.

  10. - Loop Lady - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    I saw this over the weekend and Jim Allen made mincemeat out of the assertions from Quinlan.

    Jim epitomoizes the good public servant model.
    Known him for years and he has handled these election kerfluffles with class and honesty.

  11. - rotunda - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:18 am:

    I watched the clip and thought Quinlan sound like the good lawyer that he is-just trying to do some due diligence on some serious anomalies like finding votes in a closet and counting votes they should not. Allen sounded crazed and classless. Maybe its me but he doth protest too much. He knows what is out there and he does not want anyone to keep looking.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:27 am:

    ===I watched the clip and thought Quinlan sound like the good lawyer===

    The guy stumbled and stuttered over literally almost every word, and was overcome on every point and yet you thought he sounded like a good lawyer?

  13. - JS Mill - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    @rotunda- Guinnlan sounded like the typical school yard pot stirrer that wants to make insidious assertions from the shadows and then not have to defend their veracity. Allen owned him and came of as a pro with his stuff straight. Just a tip for Mr. Quinlan- eye contact is always a good start, give it a try.

  14. - City Guy In Burbs - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    I think the Quinlan bashing is a little over the top here. BOE has already admitted to and fired a guy over the 99 votes intermingled issue. So how is Quinlan pot stirring to question the process that has already had irregularities? Its clear this thing will be down to the wire and I think its a smart position to put the BOE on notice that everything will be watched and questioned.

  15. - G.D. - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    Game, set and match to Allen. I don’t even think Quinlan is an election lawyer, why is he on this case? Having said that, the Chicago Brd of Elections hasn’t exactly bathed themselves in glory this election cycle.

    Does anyone know how many uncounted votes Chicago and Cook County have? That’s the key to this entire thing.

  16. - City Guy In Burbs - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Isn’t that one of the issues? The number of uncounted votes keeps changing.

  17. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    ===Isn’t that one of the issues? The number of uncounted votes keeps changing. ===

    It keeps changing as more ballots arrive by mail. This isn’t difficult to understand unless you are deliberately trying to avoid understanding.

  18. - Mia Wallace - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    Say Cross wins the final vote by 100 votes…Frerichs is not going to call for a re-count? Frerichs won’t try and drag this out until he gets the result he wants? Does anyone really believe that??

  19. - JS Mill - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    =I think the Quinlan bashing is a little over the top here. BOE has already admitted to and fired a guy over the 99 votes intermingled issue. So how is Quinlan pot stirring to question the process that has already had irregularities? Its clear this thing will be down to the wire and I think its a smart position to put the BOE on notice that everything will be watched and questioned.=

    The BOE made a mistake and addressed it. If you think that public bodies are supposed to be flawless please point out a modern day example to use as a model. Clearly their system of oversight is working and is transparent.

    Quinlan’s letter contains obvious misrepresentations of the truth. I’d call that pot stirring.

  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:22 am:


    Quinlan was Calvin Giles’ election lawyer.

    “As a partner at the Chicago litigation firm Quinlan & Carroll, Quinlan was on the legal team for State Representative Calvin Giles, who neglected to file campaign disclosure reports beginning in 2003. In August 2004, a lawsuit filed on Giles’ behalf by his attorneys prevented the Illinois State Board of Elections from pursuing immediate action against him. Because of this maneuver, Giles’ name remained on the November ballot even though he owed more than $80,000 in fines.”

  21. - Been There - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===Does anyone know how many uncounted votes Chicago and Cook County have? That’s the key to this entire thing. ====
    I think its just the opposite. There are plenty of Chicago and Cook ballots still uncounted with maybe a small amount still arriving by mail that will be allowed. I don’t know the number but Cook and Chicago have been pretty forward with supplying numbers.
    A lot of the downstate counties are the big unanswered question. Many have not publically said what they have left to be counted. Cross won most of those, some by big percentages. But if they don’t have many mail in votes or provisional (which tend to go DEM) then he won’t have enough to offset Frerichs Cook numbers.

  22. - Sick of subsidizing the parties - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    The thing that gets me is the b of e says more ballots may come in, but then they go on to say what seems to be that they had those ballots all along(according to their answer) , so how is saying that more may come in an answer to wrong counting of the previously received ballots?

  23. - MC - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Quinlan could have gone after allen but took the higher road. He wouldn’t have gotten on the good side of the Chicago Board of Elections by going after an employee. The fact that they fired an employee says that there is some kind of problem at the Board, buy Quinlan didn’t bring it up.

  24. - Knome Sane - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Look, I like Bill Quinlan. I think he got a bum rap in the Blago scandal. But anyone on this blog defending his appearance on FOX Chicago this weekend is a shill for Cross’ campaign, pure and simple.

  25. - BC - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    – Been there — Fair point about the downstate vote, but the Cook and Chicago numbers are likely to be bigger, and what’s more, the Chicago vote is going to be 80 percent for Frerichs. I’m guessing that Cross tops off around 60 percent in most downstate counties. Cross probably can’t afford to trade with Frerichs ballot-for-ballot. So if the number of uncounted absentees and provisionals is equal between Cook/Chicago and burbs/downstate, I thinks Frerichs is in good shape. It’s all a guessing game unless the election authorities tell us how many uncounted ballots they’re holding and how many new ones come in each day’s mail.

  26. - Ask the post office - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 6:00 pm:

    Question assuming ballots are sent first class(generic mail) what is the typical(99% ofof the time it takes toto deliver(post office says 1-3 buisness days meaning that Thursday at latest right?

  27. - Hmm kirk - Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 6:28 pm:

  28. - Watcher - Tuesday, Nov 18, 14 @ 2:03 am:

    And then I will not on get started on the human error at the bottom level, but I suspect the +- of the results will exceed the margin of victory for whoever wins. But I guess that is to be suspect when the majority of people don’t really care who wins.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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