Cook County Vote Counting Problem Fixed

Long lines mark busy Election Day in Illinois

As much as 95 percent of Cook County's votes were in a kind of computer limbo for a while Tuesday evening, according to Sequoia Systems, makers of the county's voting technology. 

The votes made it downtown into the system, but a glitch in the data wouldn't allow them to be displayed, the company said.  By 11:20 p.m., with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, officials were confident the problem was, in fact, fixed.

When results started coming in around 9:30 p.m., election officials started printing reports as fast as they could, County Clerk David Orr said.

"Whatever the problem was, Sequoia fixed it and said it won't cost much ... because they will be paying for it," Orr said.

The problem seems to have been a software glitch.   The Chicago Board of Elections, which uses similar systems, did not have the same problem.

Earlier in the day, voters reported long lines at many polling places.  Three suburban Cook County precincts that opened up to an hour late Tuesday morning stayed open an extra hour, closing at 8 p.m.

Orr asked the Cook County Circuit Court to allow the three precincts to stay open an extra hour and the court agreed.

The precincts were:

  • Orland Township, Precinct 60, Parkview Christian Church, 11100 Orland Pkwy., Orland Park

  • Cicero Township, Precinct 32, Woodbine School, 3003 50th Court, Cicero

  • Evanston Township, Ward 6, Precinct 2, Willard School, 2700 Hurd Ave., Evanston

    In all three cases, the delay in opening was due to election judges not reporting for duty. Replacement judges from a suburban on-call pool -- 175 were stationed around the suburbs -- were dispatched to open the polls as quickly as possible.

    The other 2,287 suburban Cook County precincts closed at 7 p.m. or when all voters who were in line by 7 p.m. had voted.

    More than 3 million people were expected to turn out to vote in the city and suburbs Tuesday.  Election officials said they expected  "the biggest test yet of electronic voting in Chicago and the collar counties."

     The Chicago Breaking News Center offers an overview of how those votes and the 779,000 cast in early voting are tallied.

    One of Chicago's smaller polling places at Fairbanks and Ohio avenues downtown reported experiencing what may be typical of the problems many voters saw.

    The polling place was two judges short and the long line was creeping along at a snail's pace. The judges who were there were complaining about balky machines and first-time voters who were unfamiliar with the process.

    More than a handful were turned away from the location because they came to the wrong polling place. At least four others have left because of the long lines. 

    NBC 5 and NBC Chicago viewers reported many of their voting experiences.

    Also, our Electoral Blogorrhea has election-related tidbits from around the Internet.

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