Archive for March, 2014

INCORRECT ELECTION RESULTS TRIGGER COUNTY-WIDE RECOUNT

The state mandated retabulation of results from the March 18, 2014, General Primary Election will occur Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 9:00 AM in the Champaign County Election Supply Building, 202 South Art Bartell Road, Urbana, Illinois. The retabulation will be open to candidates, the press, representatives of political parties, and the public.

In past years this process has found no serious issues, but this will not be the case tomorrow. Examination of the Unofficial Results reported on Election Night revealed implausible results for five positions on Democratic ballots: State Central Committeeman (13th & 15th Congressional Districts), State Central Committeewoman (same districts), and Precinct Committeeperson (all precincts). It is now acknowledged that these implausible results are indeed incorrect. The errors were not detected during the routine tabulation process on election night. They will not be detected tomorrow during the initial phase of the retabulation procedure. Only when we attempt to reconcile the reported results with the actual paper ballots from selected precincts (see below) will we “discover” the discrepancies. The fault is so pervasive that it affects election results throughout Champaign County.

The County Clerk explains that the errors are the result of a synchronization failure between the layout of the paper ballots and their electronic counterparts in the tabulators. This caused the tabulators to associate some votes/undervotes with the wrong candidates/races in many precincts. This was not the fault of the voters, the election judges, the tabulating equipment, or the state-certified software which aggregates and reports the votes. The invalid results are entirely due to the failure of Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten to properly synchronize the paper ballots with their tabulator ballot descriptions.

To correct these unofficial results before they are certified, the Clerk proposes to correctly synchronize every tabulator with the ballots it processed, and then use those machines to recount all Democratic Ballots in Champaign County. I concur with this procedure. He has also agreed to employ a more comprehensive system pre-test for the November, 2014 election. That test, used in the past but discontinued as a cost-saving measure, would have detected this fault before election day.

This unprecedented county-wide retabulation will commence tomorrow afternoon at the Election Supply Building, and will continue from 8 – 11:30 AM and 12:30 – 4:30 PM each workday until the job is completed. I or my representative will be present with our election judges, and I invite any interested Democrat in Champaign County to drop by and observe the procedure. We will proceed in alphabetical township-precinct order, and I would expect “City of Champaign Township” and perhaps “Cunningham Township” (City of Urbana) to be reached sometime Wednesday.

For those who wish to attend tomorrow’s official re-tabulation, the precincts and machines randomly selected by the Illinois State Board of Elections are: Champaign 5, City of Champaign 19, City of Champaign 29, Kerr, Ludlow 1, Rantoul 6, and Voting Machine #1 at the Brookens Early Voting Center. Use East Main Street to Art Bartell Road, turn South, park behind the METCAD building, enter the Election Supply Building from the north door.

The Champaign County Democrats intend to slate a candidate for County Clerk in May for the November general election. If you wish to be considered, or if you know someone who should be considered, contact me or any local Democratic official, or write Info@ChampaignCountyDemocrats.org.

Alvin G Klein
Chair@ChampaignCountyDemocrats.org

Watch videos. Make choices. VOTE NOW!

Here are links to videos of forums featuring all contested Democratic races in the March 18, 2014 primary election in Champaign County. Each candidate name is linked to a resource for campaign information.

VOTING IS UNDERWAY – MAKE YOUR DECISIONS AND VOTE TODAY! Follow this link to the Election Authority for details.

*Note that the two candidates in BOLDFACE have been ENDORSED (read why) by the Champaign County Democrats.

13th Congressional District (VIDEO)
Republicans Michael Firsching, Erika Harold
Democrats Ann Callis, George Gollin, David Green (starts at 57 minutes)

103rd State Represeentative District (VIDEO)
Democrats Carol Ammons, Samuel Rosenberg.

Champaign County Board (VIDEO) (All are Democrats)
District 6: Tony Fabri, Pattsi Petrie
District 7: Alan Kurtz, *PIUS WEIBEL (starts at 30 minutes)
District 9: *SHANA HARRISON , Ralph Langenheim (starts at 57 minutes)
District 11: Lorraine Cowart, Brent West (starts at 83 minutes)

These candidate forums were sponsored in February, 2014 by the Champaign County League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and the News-Gazette. They were recorded at the Champaign City Council chambers, and are broadcast on local cable television. The Champaign County Democrats thank these organizations for producing these events.

Weibel and Harrison for County Board

The Champaign County Democratic Party has endorsed C. PIUS WEIBEL (District 7) and SHANA JO HARRISON (District 9) as our preferred candidates in their districts for Champaign County Board in the March 18 Democratic primary election. The endorsement motion from the party’s Executive Board was presented and approved unanimously at the Wednesday, February 22 regular meeting of the Central Committee. No other endorsements in any other races were recommended to the committee.

Party endorsements in primary elections, while routine in much of Illinois, are rare in Champaign County. Discussion of the motion focused on two reasons for the committee to break precedent and endorse these two candidates at this time:

First, this action supports the Champaign County voters who have elected Democratic majorities on the County Board every two years for more than a decade. The incumbents in Districts 7 and 9 engaged in a back-room leadership deal with the Republicans in 2012. Their arrangement certainly suited the individuals involved, but it betrayed the trust of the voters who elected them and their Democratic colleagues elsewhere in the county. The County Democratic Party has a duty to support all Democratic voters and to deter such self-serving maneuvers in the future. We are confident that Mr. Weibel and Ms. Harrison will work with Republican board members to support the best interests of all Champaign County residents, regardless of party affiliation. We are confident also that if the voters choose to elect a Democratic County Board majority, Mr. Weibel and Ms. Harrison will respect that choice, and will work with the Democratic caucus to organize the the board and set its agenda.

Second, we believe Mr. Weibel and Ms. Harrison are progressive Democrats who will more effectively represent their districts. Pius Weibel is an experienced board member with a solid (and bipartisan) record of leadership. Shana Harrison, former President of the UIUC Illini Democrats, works with Champaign County organized labor and understands well the largely young and diverse residents of District 9.

The Party’s by-laws have allowed us to endorse candidates in primary elections since 2006. However, local Democrats have refrained from doing so until now. Many if not most of us prefer that the Party and its Chair never get involved in any primaries, and this is a first for us. Our unanimous decision signifies that we believe the stakes are just too high for us to sit quietly on the sidelines for these two races in this election.

Alvin G. Klein
Chair, Champaign County Democrats