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What the heck happened in DuPage?

Friday, Apr 15, 2016

* March 29th press release…

It’s not like the chad fiasco in Florida, but a suspected software malfunction believed to have failed to record the write-in votes of 3,200 voters in DuPage County election held on March 15.

According to Robert Saar, Executive Director of DuPage County Elections Commission, the touch-screen voting machines of DuPage County got more than 3,200 clicks for the Democratic Party’s candidate for DuPage Recorder. However, the machines failed to record the name of Moon Khan, who was running as a write-in candidate for DuPage Recorder in the Democratic Primary.

* From the Daily Herald’s follow-up the next day

To secure the nomination, Khan needed 844 write-in votes in the March 15 primary, election officials said. He ended up with just 695, according to unofficial results, even though more than 4,000 Democrats voted for the recorder’s position. […]

“The touch-screen voting machines did not save the name written on the screen,” Khan said. “It was an overwhelming error.” […]

Robert Saar, the commission’s executive director, said it’s “very unusual” to have thousands of votes in a race go to no candidate.

But he dismissed Khan’s claim that there was a problem with the voting machines.

“There’s absolutely no possibility of that,” Saar said. “It is not a software malfunction.”

* No possibility, eh? From April 4th

A growing number of candidates in DuPage County are raising questions about whether write-in votes were counted properly during last month’s primary election.

On Monday, former state Rep. Randy Ramey told DuPage Election Commission officials that six write-in candidates for Republican precinct committeeman in Wayne Township believe they received enough votes to be elected. But unofficial results indicate they didn’t.

In one precinct, for example, 47 Republicans voted for the committeeman position, but the lone candidate — a write-in — only received four votes.

Meanwhile, Ramey said he has received affidavits from several people who say they voted for the write-in candidates.

* And then on April 6th

Two Republican precinct committeeman candidates on Wednesday were declared winners of last month’s primary after a court-ordered recount found errors in the vote totals compiled by the DuPage Election Commission.

Five write-in candidates for GOP precinct committeeman posts in Wayne Township sought the recount after initial results from the commission showed them getting votes from only a fraction of the ballots cast — even though they were running unopposed.

The recount found two of those five — Joan Mruk and Jeff Posadzy — actually received enough votes to win their seats. The other three candidates still fell short.

So, not only was there a “possibility” of problems, there were actual problems. Something most definitely happened, whether it was with software or elsewhere.

* Yesterday’s Daily Herald

DuPage recorder candidate Moon Khan is suing county election officials to find out once and for all if his write-in campaign generated enough votes to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination.

In a lawsuit filed this week against the DuPage County Board of Election Commissioners, Khan is asking a judge to order a recount of the write-in votes cast in the March 15 Democratic primary. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. […]

Since the election, Khan and his attorney say they’ve found numerous precincts where people insist they voted for Khan even though the results don’t reflect it.

In fact, Khan got credit for only one vote in his own precinct, even though his wife, son and neighbor voted for him. Khan also voted for himself.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Hedley Lamarr - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:18 am:

    Bring back Aldo Botti!

  2. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:20 am:

    ==Khan needed 844 write-in votes==

    ==He ended up with just 695==

    ==a suspected software malfunction believed to have failed to record the write-in votes of 3,200 voters==

    What are the odds Khan would have picked up 194 votes out of the 3,200 that were not recorded? Seems reasonable to me.

    Both parties should be concerned about this.

  3. - Chungas revenge - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    Ask Captain Kirk about the wrath of Khan. It’s not fun!

  4. - bwana63 - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Saar should step down immediately. If not, Cronin should big foot him. The DEC should thoroughly investigate what went wrong and take the necessary steps to avoid additional screw ups.

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    I mean 149 votes #facepalm #typeslower

  6. - Huh? - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    Lasalle County had a problem with write in votes. There was a story about it in yesterday’s Times.

  7. - MSIX - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    =But he dismissed Khan’s claim that there was a problem with the voting machines.

    “There’s absolutely no possibility of that,” Saar said.=

    There is *always* the possibility of a malfunction with software or computers. Always.

  8. - Big Joe - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    Madigan, and the election software he controls!!!

  9. - NIU Grad - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:47 am:

    Why are there so many write-in candidates in DuPage? Is it difficult for committeemen to get on the ballot?

  10. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    Mr. Khan should be thankful that the problem also befell some DuPage Republicans, or he’d be SOL.

    – MrJM

  11. - Judgment Day - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    You test, you test, and you test some more.

    But there’s always something.

    Not as an excuse, but understand, for every single election cycle a whole new ‘test bed’ of sample test data has to be built and then run through the ballot tabulation process. It can take weeks just to build a comprehensive test bed.

    And then the elections folks sweat blood for weeks and weeks of testing and validation. And the time pressure during the entire period is unbelievable - Been There Done That.

    I’m amazed we don’t have a higher percentage of errors than we do. Course, running the election administration is an incredibly expensive operation anywhere in IL.

    But they obviously have to look into it. Look hard guys, because it’s all about keeping your credibility.

  12. - Quiet Sage - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:52 am:

    This is why it is so important to have a hard copy of the vote. That’s the way it’s done in Sangamon County, for example, with voters filling in ovals or actually writing in write-ins with ink.

  13. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    Touch screen voting machines without a paper backup should be outlawed. Period. This kind of thing is inevitable. The machines I vote on and the ones we use in Chicago have a paper backup so you can see who you’re recorded as voting for. Anything less is gross negligence.

  14. - Curious - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:03 am:

    What is the connection with a new County chairman elected? Change of leadership in April? This is troubling for the integrity of the process. The statement released is typical of the disdain for the process. Good luck to him!

  15. - Jack Stephens - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:06 am:

    I appreciate technology. I’d never dream of typing a paper ever again. Word processing software has made that obsolete.

    Having said that, I think voting needs to go back to a written ballot. Fill in the circle. When the ballot is counted it is also scanned as a “PDF” and then shredded. In our Democracy a paper trail is just too important to the result.

    Just my 2 cents.

  16. - Union Dues - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    Could be no problem, hardware, software or user. He might actually have the same votes if it is voter error or more or less votes overall if it is hardware or software. Test the machines and process.

  17. - DuPage - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    Unfortunately, this does not surprise me. I had more confidence in them decades ago, especially in regards to privacy and integrity of the secret ballot. Back then, they had booths with curtains, ballots that had a fold over cover, the judge would initial the outside cover, and the voter would drop it through a slot in a locked box. NO ONE could see how you voted, and no one could intercept, change, or otherwise tamper with the ballots. Over the years, they have gone over to cheaper open voting booths that are far from a private, secret ballot. The booths have often been arranged where to reach an empty booth, you have to walk behind other voters and who they are voting for is easily seen. “Helpful” officials walk behind voters to reach confused senior citizens who asked for help. At one place the open booths were set up where a security camera was on a wall behind the voters, looking over their shoulders. I am not suggesting corruption, but a high level of incompetence, officials completely oblivious to their responsibility to privacy, secret balloting, and accurate vote counts.

  18. - OneMan - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    In Aurora (besides DuPage) the commission machines if you vote touch screen will print out a ballot for you to observe. You can also vote via fill in the box as it were on election day.

    This is kind of every election authorities nightmare.

  19. - Tom - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    All touchscreens in Illinois have a paper backup by law.
    Just because the write-in option was selected doesn’t automatically record the vote for the any specific candidate, the voter still has to type in the write-in candidate’s name. It is not uncommon to have lots of write-in selected on a touchscreen but then the voter entering a person who did not file as a write-in i.e. Mickey Mouse, or leave the selection blank.

  20. - anon - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    === “There’s absolutely no possibility of that,” Saar said. “It is not a software malfunction.” ===

    Overconfidence bordering on arrogance is part of the problem.

  21. - JoanP - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    “There’s absolutely no possibility of that,” Saar said. “It is not a software malfunction.”

    So what’s his explanation?

  22. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 1:23 pm:

    “It is not uncommon to have lots of write-in selected on a touchscreen but then the voter entering a person who did not file as a write-in i.e. Mickey Mouse, or leave the selection blank.”

    Thirty-two hundred instances in a DuPage County Democratic primary?


    – MrJM

  23. - Tom - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 1:45 pm:

    “Thirty-two hundred instances in a DuPage County Democratic primary?”
    In the March primary election we had a write-in candidate for congress and had 444 write-in votes cast on both paper and electronically. Only 29 were valid votes. I am not saying that is what happened in DuPage but pointing out that the majority of votes cast could have been invalid.

  24. - titan - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 1:58 pm:

    I will bet that when the dust settles you will see that the precinct election judges simply didn’t process the write-in votes written onto the paper optical scan ballots in a number of precincts. It happens with some regularity (and always has).

    The touchscreens actually work better for recording write-in votes, because the voter types the name onto the screen and no human processing is needed.

  25. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    Votes on paper ballots don’t accidentally disappear. However, voter fraud can occur with or without the use of electronics.
    I agree with Jack Stephens. Scrap the electronic voting and return to the days of the paper and pencil or punching holes in perforated cards.

  26. - Veil of Ignorance - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 3:17 pm:

    This is very worrisome. I sincerely hope the DuPage folks didn’t do something underhanded and it’s just a mistake.

  27. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Apr 15, 16 @ 3:30 pm:

    Perhaps the elections office subbed out the job to the ace staff over at the College of DuPage?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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