SYCAMORE – While election results were delayed from being published for several hours Tuesday night, DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson wants to assure voters the now-live results are accurate.
While polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, results which are historically posted live and updated throughout the night on the clerk’s website weren’t live past 9 p.m. When asked Tuesday why the delay, Johnson – who’s set to retire from office after November and isn’t seeking another term – said it was due to a software issue. New software on the voting machines used during Tuesday’s election had been recently installed, Johnson said.
The issue couldn’t be resolved right away because a representative for the vendor which provides the electric voting machines, did not show up as planned Tuesday.
“We were hoping to have support from the vendor on site,” Johnson said. “We didn’t.”
The problem was eventually able to be resolved, however, Johnson said. And election officials took time to ensure voting tally uploads were accurate before they were published online. Results went live around 10 p.m.
“We just took our time,” said Johnson, who spent much of the election day at the clerk’s office overseeing election duties. “The results are correct.”
A full list of results from DeKalb County’s partisan primaries can be found at platinumelectionresults.com/races/66/8.
[ Here’s DeKalb County’s unofficial election results for Tuesday’s primary ]
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, DeKalb County’s voting machines are provided by an Omaha, Nebraska-based vendor called Elections Systems & Software (ES&S). The machines are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and utilize a software called ExpressVote, which uses touch-screen technology to tabulate paper ballots and creates a paper record for the count. Once a voter fills out a ballot, the paper is fed into the machine which tabulates the count.
Matt Dietrich, spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said it’s not uncommon for delays to be reported. He said he didn’t know specifics about what happened in DeKalb County.
“I do know that there is extensive testing done pre-election,” Dietrich said. “There is a public test that’s done before every election regarding the tabulators that are used in polling places.”
Another thing to keep in mind, Dietrich said: Same-night election results aren’t the historical norm. Electric tabulations and counting machines are a fairly new phenomenon within the past decade, and it’s likely voters have gotten used to expecting results the night polls close.
“If you go back even 10-12 years ago, it was common to not have the results that quickly,” Dietrich said.
The state board of elections also keeps a database of what electronic voting machines, vendors and software is used in each county. Information can be found at www.elections.il.gov/. And results, in any case, won’t be certified for about two weeks. Several hundred expected mail-in ballots remain outstanding also, according to DeKalb County clerk officials, and have yet to be added to the final tally.
“Keep in mind that the numbers from last night are all unofficial numbers,” Dietrich said. “If those were delayed, that would not be anything that would violate any portion of the election code.”
Despite the reporting hiccup, Johnson said he was pleased with the 24% voter turnout reported in the county. He heralded his staff’s work to troubleshoot Tuesday’s issues, the election judges and the new software, regardless of the delay. He said his office will work to ensure the software is running efficiently ahead of the November General Election.
“I think everyone likes the way it works, it was just new,” said Johnson.
Jessica Rugerio, chief deputy of elections in the DeKalb County clerk’s office, was on hand at polling places Tuesday and at the clerk’s office headquarters.
“I think yesterday went well,” Rugerio said. “Given that our unofficial turnout is currently 24.65% with approximately 500 outstanding mail-in ballots, I’d say it’s about average.”
The office is still on the lookout for additional residents to sign up to be election judges ahead of November, after reporting a dip in volunteers to be judges earlier this year. Rugerio said she’d like to recruit 200 more ahead of November.
“We would welcome any ideas [and] efforts to assist in recruiting more Election Judges,” she said. “We are always looking for new judges,” said Johnson.
Those interested in learning more about how to apply to be an Election Judge can find the application on the clerks website at http://dekalb.il.clerkserve.com/?cat=9 or email email@example.com.