December 06, 2023


Election Day is here. What DeKalb County voters should know

As polls close, keep in mind how ballots are counted, results won’t be finalized right away, warns county clerk

Shaw Local June 2022 file photo – Peggy Carey, from DeKalb, takes advantage of the early voting period Thursday, May 19, 2022, at the polling place in the DeKalb County Legislative Center in Sycamore. A virtual candidate election forum took place Tuesday, Oct. 13, and featured candidates for DeKalb County Board ahead of the Nov. 8, 2022 election.

Editor’s Note: April 4 Election results will start being published after polls close Tuesday. Unofficial results can be found via live updates Tuesday night at shawlocal/daily-chronicle/election and also at

To read up on candidates and find out who’s on your ballot, visit

Election Day is here, and as DeKalb County voters head to the polls to decide who will lead their municipal and village governments, school and park boards and fire protection districts, election officials urge patience as results published Tuesday won’t likely show the full picture yet.

Polls are open until 7 p.m.

The first votes added to the DeKalb County election results webpage Tuesday will be the early voting and mail-in ballots, said DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Tasha Sims, who’s administering her first election since taking office in December. Sims’ first time overseeing a countywide election comes with an added feature: Races likely include the largest number of write-in candidates anyone in her office can remember.

Results from individual precincts will trickle in Tuesday, but Sims said the 18 write-in candidates are adding a wrinkle to the process.

“Write-in candidate results will not be available on election night, which I know will be hard for some people because we do have races that only have write-ins,” Sims said. “We’re going to work hard the few days following the election to get those results to people as soon as possible but it will take a couple of days.”

Results won’t be certified across the state until two weeks after Tuesday. Some mail-in ballots also will likely be counted after Tuesday and will count as long as they’re postmarked by April 4. In many local races, results can be decided by a handful of votes, so it’s important for residents to remember that Tuesday’s polling numbers might not show the final picture yet, officials said.

The DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder’s Office sent out 4,220 mail-in ballots for the election. As of March 31, Sims said about 1,400 ballots had been completed and mailed back, while 2,820 had not yet been delivered to the clerk and recorder’s office.

“Write-in candidate results will not be available on election night, which I know will be hard for some people because we do have races that only have write-ins. We’re going to work hard the few days following the election to get those results to people as soon as possible but it will take a couple of days.”

—  Tasha Sims, DeKalb County clerk and recorder

The ballots with write-in candidates will be hand-counted by election judges after polls close, Sims said. It will be up to the election judges to determine the intent of what was written.

Sims said voters will need to circle in the oval next to where they write in the candidate they’re voting for.

“I’ve been asked several times – you know there are variations of names – if someone’s name is David they could write Dave,” Sims said. “If someone has a very well known nickname such as ‘Corn Bred’ and that’s written, that still is acceptable. It may take a little bit longer for some precincts to come back because they have to count all those write-ins.”

Write-in candidates’ names will not appear on the ballot.

DeKalb City Council’s 5th Ward has had a heated campaign season. After a down-to-the-wire ruling by DeKalb County Chief Judge Bradley Waller om Monday in favor of incumbent Scott McAdams to remain on the ballot, the 5th Ward alderman seeking a second term will be the only name to appear on ward residents’ ballots. Two write-in challengers, however, include Thomas M. Riley and Derek Van Buer, the latter who’s led a legal campaign against McAdams twice in an unsuccessful effort to get McAdams’ name ousted from the ballot.

In the race for DeKalb Park District’s Board of Commissioners, no names will appear on the ballot, though five candidates have filed their intent to vie for a seat as a write-in candidates: Michael “Corn Bred” Zasada, Donna Johnson, Brian Tobin, David Castro and Chris Newquist.

Zasada’s name was on the ballot, but an appeal to oust him in January was supported by the DeKalb County Electoral Board because of what election officials said were incorrectly bound candidate papers. Zasada filed his own appeal, but DeKalb County judge Joseph Pedersen upheld the board’s vote.

On the DeKalb School District 428 board, multiple write-in candidates exist along with a handful of names set to appear on the ballot. Christopher Michael Boyes, Steven Byers, incumbent Samantha McDavid and Vanta Bynum will appear on the ballot with four open seats up for grabs. Write-in candidates include incumbent David Seymour, Eric Larsen and Howard Solomon. Solomon, who previously served a term on the board, also was ousted from the ballot after a ruling by the DeKalb County Electoral Board.

In Shabbona, mayoral incumbent Donald Goncher’s name is the only name that will appear on the ballot, although a challenger who’s also seeking a seat on the Shabbona Village Board of Trustees, Frank Ottengheime, has indicated his intent to gain voters’ support as a write-in mayoral candidate.

Arianna Chandler, a senior at Northern Illinois University, feeds her ballot into the collection machine on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the polling place in Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb.

On Nov. 30 – his last day in office – former DeKalb County Clerk Douglas Johnson announced the Illinois State Board of Elections found a computer error double counted local mail-in ballots in the Nov. 8 General Election.

The error affected vote totals and changed the results of a DeKalb County Board race days after polls closed.

A news release from Johnson’s office said the mail-in ballots in the November election were added twice by the county’s ballot tabulator vendor, Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software.

Sims said as soon as she took office in December she sat down with both vendors that work with the DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder’s Office – Election Systems and Software and Platinum Technology Resource – to talk about what happened to cause the error and how they can move forward.

Sims said she laid down expectations for the vendors and for her office as well.

“We’re just going to kind of slow things down a bit,” Sims said. “We’re going to have some additional checklists internally that we’re going to go through and make sure that we’re checking off the right points to make sure we have the right six in the right places, and everything is going to be smooth and updated correctly.”

Election judges wait for the next voter to check in as voting booths remain idle during a slow period on election day Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at the polling place in Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb.

How do I find my polling place?

Your polling place is determined by your precinct number and listed on your voter registration card, which you should have received in the mail. You also can check your local county board of elections office at

Where can I register to vote on election day?

DeKalb County residents who are not registered to vote or who have changed their name and/or address within the county may register and vote on election day. They are encouraged to visit the Election Day Registration Center at the DeKalb County Administration Building or the polling place that accommodates the voter’s address so it can be done.

If already registered to vote at your current address, you are advised to vote at your designated polling place only.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

Unsure? Double check at

Camden Lazenby

Camden Lazenby

Camden Lazenby covers DeKalb County news for the Daily Chronicle.