Issues Remain with Official Results of March 2014 Primary Elections

By April 1, 2014, the Champaign County Clerk had determined that election day issues. which required an unprecedented county-wide retabulation of Democratic Primary ballots to correct, had in fact been resolved; and that the official results were now “100 percent accurate”. The official canvass was certified, the final summary report was prepared, and the results were proclaimed and delivered to the State Board of Elections as required by law. The Board is required to complete its own canvass of these results by Friday, April 18.

The question today for the Board and the public is: Are the results from Champaign County “100 percent accurate”? Unfortunately, they are not.

To confirm this statement, first be assured that when a voting machine accepts a ballot on election day, that machine must account for every vote in every contest on that ballot. It records valid votes, an over-vote (too many ovals filled), or under-votes (ovals left blank) for each race. Even if a contest has no candidate, it is not ignored. Instead, that uncontested race generates one under-vote. The formula is always: Processed votes = (votes + over-votes + under-votes). Also, the precinct total of ballots processed for any contest in the Democratic Primary can never exceed the total number of Democratic ballots cast in that precinct (shown at the top of each precinct report). Of course, the same is true for the Republican Primary. With this in mind, here are several anomalies apparent in the official precinct reports from the website of the Champaign County Clerk (links provided).

In Cunningham 14, there were 243 Democratic ballots processed, but 244 ballots were processed for the Democratic precinct committee candidate.

In City of Champaign 5, nine Democratic ballots total were processed, nine (combined) for the three candidates for Congress in the 13th District, and nine for the unopposed State Central Committeewoman in that district. But sixteen ballots were processed for the unopposed State Central Committeeman in that district. Since State Central Committeewoman and Committeeman are always paired, this should never happen. This situation recurs in Condit, but there three extra ballots were purportedly processed for State Central Committeewoman.

A bizarre situation exists in Cunningham 17, a precinct split between the 13th and 15th Congressional Districts. The unopposed Democratic candidates for Congress and State Committeeman in the 15th District had zero ballots processed – not surprising, since there were only two registered voters in that small area at the close of regular registration. But the Democratic Candidate for State Central Committeewoman had 63 ballots processed from that sparsely-inhabited area, and was credited with 44 actual votes!

Remarkably, these anomalies exist in the Republican Primary reports as well, contrary to the Clerk’s assurances that only the Democratic ballots were miscounted on election day.

In City of Champaign 34, 229 total Republican ballots were processed, but 243 materialized for the Precinct Committee candidate.

In Champaign 5, 348 total Republican ballots were processed, but only 347 for County Clerk, and 341 for their Precinct Committee candidate.

Finally, there is a special issue on the Republican Primary ballot which should be addressed promptly. The Honorable Lisa Holder White (Republican, Macon County) sought the nomination of her party for a 10 year term on the Fourth District Appellate Court. She was unopposed in the primary. However, the summary report assigns her 11,248 votes cast for her in Champaign County to a non-existent race for a seat on the Circuit Court. (No candidate filed for the Democratic party nomination, and the resulting under-votes are properly assigned to the Democratic Appellate Court contest).

It must be understood that all these examples are discrepancies, not facts. This means, for example, that no one claims that forty-four wraiths rose from the fields of northeast Urbana to vote at the Civic Center. However, they do serve as contradictions, which are routinely used in logic and mathematics to expose and disprove faulty assumptions. In this case, the faulty assumption is that the revised, official results for either party’s Primary Election in Champaign County is “100 percent accurate”.

The State Board of Elections should refrain from certifying the flawed results from Champaign County and including them in district totals until the county’s ballot processing issues have been identified and resolved.

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