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*** UPDATED x1 *** The Democrats’ vote-by-mail juggernaut

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Check out this vote swing after the mail-in ballots were counted

Two weeks after Election Day, it’s still one of the closest countywide contests in DuPage’s recent history — and it may not be decided any time soon.

Unofficially, just 116 votes separate Democratic challenger Daniel Hebreard and Republican incumbent Joseph Cantore in the race for president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

On the night of the election, unofficial results showed Cantore ahead by more than 3,400 votes. But Hebreard has gained ground since vote-by-mail ballots began coming in, leaving the final result in doubt.

As of Monday night, Hebreard clung to a 116-vote lead with 177,185 votes, around 50.02 percent of the unofficial total. Cantore had 177,069 votes, around 49.98 percent of the unofficial total.

The DuPage County Election Commission counted nearly 300 vote-by-mail ballots on Monday. Suzanne Fahnestock, the commission’s executive director, said Tuesday is the deadline for additional vote-by-mail ballots to arrive.

Also on Tuesday, the commission will complete its review of roughly 1,800 provisional ballots, Fahnestock said. Provisional ballots that are found to be valid then will be counted. [Emphasis added.]

The overwhelming success of the Democrats’ vote-by-mail program is one of the least-covered stories of this election year.

In 1994, the Democrats lost 13 House seats by something like 2,000 votes. Lots of races are won and lost at the margins and the Democrats essentially had the vote-by-mail field to themselves.

So, as the Republicans talk about what they can do differently in 2020, a solid VBM program should be at or near the top of their list.

*** UPDATE *** The Democrat Hebreard ended up winning by 702 votes. County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, by the way, won with just 51.02 percent of the vote.


  1. - BC - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    Two races to watch as VBM ballots are counted today are the sheriff elections in Lake and Macon counties. The Republicans in both counties are clinging to very slim leads. JB’s vote-by-mail campaign may sink them both.

  2. - Publius - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    The gop Election Day vote in Sangamon County negated most of the vote by mail advantage the democrats had.

    Having gop voters, that turn out in most elections anyway, vote by mail instead of vote on Election Day does not change who votes

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    ===does not change who votes ===

    It did this year.

  4. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    ==does not change who votes==

    Based on the number of people who voted this year I would say it did. This push got people who may not have otherwise voted to vote.

  5. - WOB - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    Maybe not even a solid vbm program. They should start with just having a vbm program because contrary to Rauner campaign spin, they didn’t do one at all. Not only did they not do a vbm, they made commitments to other campaigns that they had. Few found out before it was too late Something is always better than nothing.

  6. - LakeCoQ - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    Another race to watch in Lake County is Democrat Mary Edly-Allen for Rep against Helene Miller Walsh in the 51st District. On election night, they were separated by just one single vote. Standing by.

  7. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    I was hoping we’d get around to talking about this. The moment I got my vote-by-mail letter from the Pritzker campaign, I had a gut level feeling this would be the game changer in some of the closer races.

  8. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    –vote by mail instead of vote on Election Day does not change who votes–

    Strange thing to say, with the evidence staring you in the face.

    At 2.4 million, Pritzker got 700K more votes than Quinn in 2014, an increase of 41%. Rauner’s vote was just 100K off his 2014 total.

    Pritzker had the highest vote total for governor since the move to mid-terms in 1978. The next highest total was 1.98 million for Edgar in 1994.

    Lot of new voters for this mid-term.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    Rauner used the GOP brand as a way, a tool, to help him, this cycle, as his numbers were abysmal.

    The SGOP had cushion change to run their races from Rauner, the HGOP had some cash, but not nearly enough to overcome Trump, Pritzker dough, and Rauner.

    The ILGOP needs to realize that vbm is a critical element to move away from Rauner owning a brand and move towards a broader plan to build a party.

    Will they do it?


  10. - Annon3 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    IMHO VBM is targeted to a completely different demographic then a typical GOP voter which is why at a national level it is fraught against tooth and nail by the GOP and at a local level ignored in states that have it.

  11. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    I’ve been telling everyone for months that the investments in VBM were going to bring a lot of marginal Democrats over the finish line. That plus Pritzker’s infrastructure made an enormous difference in this election. Obviously broader considerations drove the overall direction but in close races, it was these two things that made a difference. There were a lot of close races. It certainly made the differences in races like Chris Nybo and Helene Walsh and probably 1/2 dozen more in each chamber. Plus Lauren Underwood.

  12. - Roman - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    I mentioned before the election that all the nieces and nephews in my Democratic family (and I have a bunch of them ages 18-25) received VBM packages from JB’s campaign. Most of them are away at college or recently moved out of their parents’ house. They all voted. I’m certain most of them would not have if it wasn’t for VBM.

  13. - WOB - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:23 pm:


    Not at all. There are tens of thousands of low propensity lean republican voters who are ripe candidates for a vbm program. Had the GOP run one in ‘18 like they did in ‘14 it would not have changed the outcome of the Gov but could have swayed some legislative and downballot races.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===it would not have changed the outcome of the Gov but could have swayed some legislative and downballot races.===

    The ROI for Bruce and Diana Rauner made investing in that not worth the dough(?)

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    ===IMHO VBM is targeted to a completely different demographic then a typical GOP voter===

    Your humble opinion is wrong. VBM has been used with success by the GOP in this state.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    Also, Rauner required a lower turnout, a depressed turnout, to try to defeat Pritzker.

    Having a VBM program runs counter that, GA seats not withstanding

  17. - Timmeh - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 3:02 pm:

    =They should start with just having a vbm program because contrary to Rauner campaign spin, they didn’t do one at all.=

    I got a letter from Citizens for Rauner with a vote by mail application about 3 weeks before the election.

  18. - Team America - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 3:14 pm:

    I am not denying that the GOP needs to up its VBM game by a factor of about, oh, 20x. But a major problem this cycle (at least what we saw/heard in Lake County) was that fairly reliable historic GOP voters decided to go all Dem this year because they think that the President isn’t a nice person (if they showed up at all due to lack of Rauner enthusiasm). And before anyone asks for the “data,” let me just say that I sat through a county GOP meeting last night for several hours listening to reliable anecdotes from the candidates themselves.

    This cycle, the theory of turning out the “reliable GOP vote” didn’t match reality.

    The challenge will be how we deal with this in 2020 if nothing else changes.

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    TA, I saw Brad Schneider got 65%. That was a swing district forever.

  20. - Team America - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    Wordslinger - yes, you are correct sir. As you may know, in the GOP primary two “moderate” candidates split the vote and the most conservative candidate, Doug Bennett, won with a slight margin. He’s a very nice guy and book smart (he’s a computer consultant so he was good with number crunching), but had no ability to raise any money and was way too conservative for the 10th, so it was a shoo-in for Schneider. In this year, even the moderate candidates would have probably lost handily, but they would have had a much better chance of keeping Schneider pinned down. The major problem that caused was that the massive cash that the Dems usually had to throw at that District were not needed and could be spent to help defeat Roskam and Hultgren. Just a disaster for the GOP all the way around.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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