More than 500 mail-ballots remain uncounted from DeKalb County’s midterm elections

Tuesday was the last day to send in mail-in ballots, and hundreds are waiting to be counted.

Election Judge Tamara Person-Hescott shows Patricia Doss, of DeKalb, how to use one of the new touch screen voting machines on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the polling place in Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb.

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has 569 outstanding mail-in ballots left to be counted, as of Thursday, from the Nov. 8 midterm elections, county records show.

Tuesday was the last day to send in mail-in ballots. All ballots arriving postmarked Nov. 8 may be counted by election authorities. But it leaves some races in uncertainty after Election Day.

Key positions in DeKalb County government, including several seats on the DeKalb County Board, could potentially be affect should outstanding ballots flip the race leaders so far. Unofficial results show that Democrats are poised to take majority of the board for the first time since 2014, ousting three incumbent Republicans and taking six districts, should the margins hold.

District 8 Republican incumbent Bill Cummings, set right now to lose his reelection bid, trails behind Democratic incumbent Michelle Pickett by 163 votes.

In District 4, Democratic newcomer Brett Johansen holds a narrow 38-vote lead over Republican incumbent Laurie Emmer’s 1,655 votes, as the top vote-getter remains Democratic newcomer Stewart Ogilvie with 1,785 votes.

A slew of mail-in ballots added Wednesday morning narrowed the margin substantially – formerly more than 2,500 down to 780 votes – in the DeKalb County clerk and recorder’s race. It’s not been enough to bump Republican Tasha Sims from her projected win over Democratic opponent Linh Nguyen, if unofficial results hold, however.

The race between Nguyen and Sims can’t be officially called until Nov. 22, when the results are certified.

An early Tuesday night results tally published about 8:30 p.m. indicated that Nguyen had actually grabbed the top votes with 100% of precincts reporting. Results quickly changed, however, after updated numbers about 20 minutes later showed fewer than 60 precincts reporting.

The error was noted by election officials this week as a technical fault.

DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson, a Republican who decided not to seek reelection, said the change-up noted in the number of precincts reporting was a matter of the computer correcting itself.

“It’s computers, and I have no explanation for it,” Johnson said. “I had two techs on the same issue. They’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ It’s computers. When the next upload went in, it corrected it.”

This wasn’t the only hiccup noted with technology during this election.

A few electronic ballot tabulators set up at DeKalb polling places reported brief issues. A machine at Real Connection Church, 1115 S. Malta Road in DeKalb, and another at Hopkins Park in DeKalb were delayed in counting briefly.

“A lot of the machines, the wire in the back came unplugged,” Johnson said. “The machines were running on batteries, and then the batteries ran out. Then, what they did is there’s an auxiliary bin on the ballot box that they can use, and then they figured out that they can use it to plug the power in and get it going again.”

The issue prompted dozens of ballots turned in on Election Day to be counted after the fact, according to election authorities.

When asked if there were any concerns about safety reported at the county’s polling locations, Johnson said it wasn’t an issue in DeKalb County.

An earlier version of this story included the wrong date for when the general election results will be certified. That will happen by Nov. 22.

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