Today outgoing Governor Pat Quinn signed two election bills into law, 1) HB4576, which passed both chambers during a special session on Thursday, that will allow for a special election for certain constitutional offices under certain circumstances and will result in a special election in 2016 for Comptroller to fill the remaining term of the late Judy Baar Topinka, and 2) SB172 the omnibus elections bill that was passed during veto session which has received the most attention for making same day registration permanent but also makes changes to vote by mail, early voting, college campus voting, vote counting procedures and election administrative changes.
For anyone who followed the lengthy vote counting process in the very close 2014 State Treasurer's race SB172 includes some changes that will make more vote counting information available for any similar situations in the future. Here is a rundown for both bills.
This bill is pretty straightforward, this about covers it:
Provides that if there are more than 28 months remaining in the term of office for Secretary of State, State Comptroller, Treasurer or Attorney General, the appointed office holder shall serve until the next general election, at which time the office shall be filled by special election for the remainder of the term. Provides for nominations for special elections to fill the unexpired term of a vacant office. Effective immediately.
As I mentioned before starting with the 2014 General Election the Illinois State Board of Elections has made precinct-level vote totals available for all races. The State Board offers flat files in csv format for each of the state's election authorities. I have assembled that data, formatted it and created some interesting tools.
First, to find this new data click on "ANALYSIS" and then "Precinct Level Election Results". Here is a rundown of what is available:
Also if you want to see Statewide Race by Districts in table format we have that too:
The statewide file is large, it's about 1.8 million records so some pages may take a few seconds to load. Also, when looking at statewide races by district (congressional, state senate, state rep) currently the only method available is the Simple Method which includes any precinct that is in whole or in part in the district. I hope to be able to add a more complex apportionment method where precincts that include more than one district have those votes apportioned to one district or another. For reasons I won't get into you can't guarantee that one method is more accurate than the other but the apportionment method is generally favored. If you'd like to develop your own methodology for evaluating the data I have made the raw and formatted data available for easy download so you can use it as you wish. In the meantime I wanted to publish what I had here so I could move on to finishing up the maps and then get the 2014 monthly campaign budgets done later this month.
Feel free to contact me with any questions at Scott.Kennedy (at) illinoiselectiondata.com or on Twitter at @ILElectionData.
UPDATE: 12/1 (5:00pm)
All of the spreadsheets in the Analysis section for the statewide races have been updated with the 2014 certified general election totals. Also, I have changed the way they are displayed and made it easier for you to take this info in widget format by adding "Copy this Widget" code for each, just copy and paste that into your own websites for your own use. For example here is the data by region - traditional collars that appeared here on the front page often leading up to the election:
End of update.
Tonight the Illinois State Board of Elections will meet to certify the election results. Once those results are made available I'll start work on updating the site with all of the data from the 2014 general election. I should have all of the election profiles and the analysis spreadsheets (updated) updated pretty quickly, probably sometime this week.
The maps will probably take a little longer. I only add new maps about every two years and it seems like each time I do Google has added some new security protocol to the batch update process and their documentation is rarely helpful. I will get them done as soon as I can.
Another fun new feature of this election could come soon as well:
10 ILCS 5/22-6 (b)
Beginning with the November 2014 general election and every primary, consolidated, general, and special election thereafter, within 52 days after each election, the State Board of Elections shall publish the precinct-by-precinct vote totals on its website and make them available in a downloadable form.
That should happen no later than around Christmas. I have no idea how the State Board plans to implement this but hopefully it should allow us to parse the data in all sorts of ways including a) seeing how the Governor's race candidates (or other races) performed by congressional, state house and state senate district and b) seeing how the statewide referenda fared in each district, etc. I have zero interest in replicating any functionality offered by the State Board of Elections but if all they offer is raw data and it is in some sort of format that will allow us to convert it into a usable database I'll probably spend some time building some functionality so that it can be parsed in various useful ways.
And then come January the final campaign finance reports for this election cycle will be filed for both federal and state candidates. Once those reports are filed I'll get to work on updating the budgets for each race. That is a lot of work and takes a long time so it won't happen right away.
Also now that the results are certified I may write some articles looking at the results in depth. There are a number of topics that interest me including following up on pre-election articles about the downstate vote, the Chicago vote (especially the African American vote in the Govenror's race), the death of the Cook County suburbs as a reliable bellwether, the stronger than expected performance of some of the challengers in the down ballot statewide races, that razor thin Treasurer's race, the competitive congressionals and turnout and vote share. I may not get to all of those topics or I may find that there is nothing new to add beyond what's already apparent on the surface but for now those are the topics that interest me and seem likely to offer greater insights once looked at more closely.
With at least 89 of the 110 election authorities showing totals that are considered final (mostly just small counties remaining) and the race having been conceded I have stopped updating the tracker.
It's impossible to say exactly how many votes were counted after election night but we can make some approximations. I didn't find the county by county totals for the Treasurer's race until sometime on the afternoon of Wednesday the 5th, and there are still some counties that haven't made final updates in our tracker but if you look at the list of updates I tracked there were at least 132,000 new votes over what was reported by the AP on election night. The tracker currently lists roughly 3.527 million total votes in this race so roughly about 4% of the total vote was reported after election night.
Despite the fact that this race was decided by the razor thin margin of just a few thousand votes (roughly one quarter of one percent) this late counted vote had a decided Democratic lean. Frerichs won this late counted vote 56%-40%-4%, a 16 point spread and in doing so gained an advantage of roughly 21,000 raw votes (at current count).
This leads to two questions:
Let's look at these questions by type of vote. First, why were there so many votes that were not counted until after election day?
Since vote by mail appears here to stay there will always be late arriving vote by mail ballots, although the amount will vary from election to election. Also, if same day registration is renewed then those votes will likely continue to be counted after election night. On the other hand you could potentially reduce the number of votes that need to be counted after election night by giving the clerks the power to count early vote and on time Vote By Mail votes somewhat earlier in the day on election day and better clerical work could reduce the number of traditional provisional ballots that need to be reviewed. So while there will continue to be votes that need to be counted after election night any number of changes could make that universe smaller than what we had in this election.
The next question has to do with partisan advantage. According to our non-exhaustive list of vote total changes since election night these votes had a 16 point advantage for Democrat Mike Frerichs (56%-40%-4%) despite the fact that this race overall had a razor thin margin of roughly one quarter of one percent. Can we expect the Democrats to have the same advantage among late arriving votes in future elections? Again, let's look at this question by each type of vote:
Some of the late arriving ballots will skew towards the Democrats, specifically the traditional provisional ballots and possibly the same day registration ballots (but not certainly) while the late arriving mail ballots could skew towards either party depending on the get out the vote programs of each party and their candidates. There is no guarantee that future elections will see late counted votes skewing towards the Democrats by 16 points as they apparently did in this Treasurer's race according to the best numbers we have available.
If a future election is as close as this one was at the end of election night we're just going to have to study it in detail again and see what characteristics that are unique to that election will have an impact on the final result.
UPDATE: 11/18 (10:00pm)
Final update for the night:
The Chicago numbers came in just before 9pm and as expected it boosted Frerichs lead by over 6,000 votes. I did a complete check of all the election authorities again and the only other update was Marion County. On my tracker I still have not yet confirmed the final totals for 50 of the state's 110 election authorities. Of that number 14 don't have websites and the other 36 just haven't updated their websites yet with final totals.
The current margin is Frerichs by 9,439 votes.
Reminder: I will be traveling all day tomorrow for work and won't be near a computer probably at all so I will have no new updates for you. I gave Rich Miller and his intern access to the Google Doc that powers the tracker so they may make updates or they may not. Either way I'll find some time on Thursday to update what I can.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/18 (6:30pm)
Here's where things stand right now. I have checked every publicly available source of election results since 5pm. As of this writing Frerichs has a lead of 3,259 votes but 52 of the state's 110 election authorities have not yet published what is clearly a final update. You can see which counties updated here.
The City of Chicago still has not updated, which is expected to produce a notable margin for Frerichs. The Cook County suburbs did make an update of 8,314 votes and Frerichs net gain there was 2,263 votes.
The most surprising news of the day came in the collar counties. In the 5 traditional collar counties overall Cross beat Frerichs 57%-38%. I expected that the updates in the 5 collar counties would give Cross the net gains he would need to keep this race close. That was not the case.
We haven't had a public update in McHenry County since 11/5 and did not get one so far today. DuPage had a large public update on 11/5 as well, both producing large margins for Cross. However in today's updates it was Frerichs who came out with a net gain in Lake and Will (472 and 376 votes respectively) while Cross' net gain today in DuPage was only 48 votes. The Kane County part outside of Aurora updated last night Cross gained 215 votes while the Aurora election authority update today gave a net gain to Frerichs of 235 votes. In these most recent collar county updates it was Frerichs who had a net gain, when I was expecting a large net gain for Tom Cross.
In the overall statewide vote the 5 collar counties made up 25% of the vote in this race, while the Cook County suburbs made up 19% of the total vote. Cross needed gains in the collar counties to blunt the gains by Frerichs in Cook County and what is expected in Chicago. Unless McHenry comes in with a very large update, that didn't happen.
This race has had many surprising developments. Now Tom Cross is going to need to find votes in surprising places to make up the current deficit.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/18 (10:00am)
I will update what I can when I can today. Keep track of which counties updated here.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/17 (9:00pm)
Here is what to expect for tomorrow and Wednesday. I expect the clerks will finalize and update the vote totals in each election authority tomorrow. The clerks will still have to complete the canvass and the totals won't yet be certified but at least we won't be expecting any further updates unless errors are found.
Technically the clerks have to wait to make sure no additional ballots come in the mail tomorrow so the updates are more likely to come later in the day. I will take a late lunch and check for updates during my lunch and then again after work.
On Wednesday I have to travel for work and will not be able to check for updates at all. I have given Rich Miller and his intern access to the Google Doc that is keeping track of these totals so they can make updates if needed.
Also, if you need to get updates faster anyone can copy/paste the data at the bottom of my tracker where it is listed by election authority and perform their own checks.
To make it easier to quickly see which totals are final I have them color coded. All the numbers for each election authority in blue are not yet final, the numbers in black are the numbers that are expected to be final.
For previous updates I've written a little blurb after each one explaining the update. Here is that history in table format. Since almost all 110 election authorities are expected to have an update in the next day or two I probably won't write up each one, I am going to try to keep this table up to date and just reference the table.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/17 (6:30pm)
First, thank you to Macoupin County Clerk Pete Duncan for emailing me his final county totals, that was very helpful. Second, if you look at the very bottom of the tracker where the vote totals by election authority are listed you'll notice that many figures are in blue. Anything in blue is not yet confirmed as final, anything in black is assumed to be final pending the canvassing and certification.
I called the 5 counties today that I promised on Friday I would. I also rechecked all the election authorities tonight, here are 12 updates:
The current margin is now Tom Cross by 674 votes.
End of Update.
Note: I originally wrote this on Thursday and planned to publish it on Friday morning. However on Thursday night news broke about some complications at the Chicago Board of Elections and I wanted to take some more time to think about it in that context. (you can read the CBOE's response to these issues here.) But then on Friday we saw some adjusted numbers in Wabash County when they found and corrected a previous error, a normal part of the process and I decided that it still made sense to try and explain this process and to point out that it has enough moving parts that simple errors are a normal part of the process and are not necessarily a sign of fraud or incompetence.
Important note: I am not an election attorney, this is for reference only.
We continue to see vote totals update in the Illinois State Treasurer's race despite the fact that the election was well over a week ago. Since this will go on for a little while I wanted to put together a quick primer with some key dates and explanations about the process plus a small FAQ for some of the more common questions.
11/18/2014 - Deadline to validate and count ballots.
Deadline for the county clerk or board of election commissioners to complete the tabulation of absentee ballots that were (1) postmarked by midnight preceding the opening of the polls on Election Day, and were received after the close of the polls on Election Day but not later than 14 days after the election, or (2) not postmarked at all, but did have a certification date prior to the Election Day on the certification envelope, and were received after the close of the polls on Election Day but not later than 14 days after the election. (10 ILCS 5/19-8)
11/25/2014 - Last day for canvassing.
Last day for canvassing election results by proper canvassing board (county canvassing board or board of canvassers). (10 ILCS 5/18A-15(a), 22-1)
11/30/2014 - tentative date of board meeting of the State Board of Elections to certify the results.
So 11/18 is the last day that the election authorities can accept valid Vote By Mail votes and then they are supposed to finalize their vote totals so the canvass can begin. The canvass must end by 11/25 and by that date the election authorities are supposed to certify their results and submit the certified results to the State Board of Elections and the Illinois SBE is tentatively set to meet on 11/30 to certify the results.
Most counties should have their final updated results sometime by the end of the day on 11/18, although some counties have said that their updated results would not be made publicly available until 11/19. Either way, unless any errors are found during the canvass the final updated totals from each election authority should be available on the 18th - 19th.
Why are only some counties still counting votes while others are not?
This is inaccurate. Every county and municipal election authority can still receive valid, legal votes so every election authority in the state is still going through the process of potentially receiving and counting votes. Some county and municipal election authorities (such as Chicago and Cook County) have been giving regular updates throughout which is why they have received so much attention while most have not provided any new updates since election night. For example, this is what Sangamon County lists on the top of their election night election results page:
MAILED ABSENTEE BALLOTS RECEIVED AFTER 7PM 11/4/2014 AND PROVISIONAL BALLOTS WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THESE TOTALS UNTIL AFTER NOVEMBER 18, 2014.
This is the most common method, most counties are not updating their totals with these new additional votes and will not have any further update until 11/18.
For example, see this article on the Champaign News-Gazette about the additional votes expected to be made public in the counties of east central Illinois.
This happens in every election every year. The results announced on election night are not final and the totals that get certified about a month later always include additional votes. Usually the various races are not close enough to be affected by these additional votes which is why most people are unaware of how this process works but everything that is taking place right now in the vote counting process is perfectly normal and typical.
Why is it so complicated to count all the votes?
There are 5 different ways a person can vote and the clerks have to manage and track all of these different types of votes and then take steps to ensure that valid registered voters voted no more than once. This requires that they keep and manage very detailed records yet at the same time they need to protect the integrity of the secret ballot so they have to protect each voter's privacy as well, that is very challenging. Then when it comes time to tabulate the final totals they need to count them by precinct despite the fact that many votes (early vote, vote by mail) were not made in the actual precinct on election day. It would be very easy to make simple mistakes so the clerks take careful steps to ensure they get it right.
Here are all the different types of votes:
What votes are included in the publicly available totals?
In most cases the following types of votes are included in the totals that are already publicly available from each election authority:
- all early votes made prior to election day.
- all election day votes made in each precinct on election day.
- all Vote By Mail votes that were received by the election authority by election day.
What votes are still being counted and/or are not yet publicly available?
In most cases these types of votes are not yet included in the publicly available totals:
- valid Vote By Mail ballots that were received after election day. (a very few election authorities have made these totals available via updates, but very few)
- provisional ballots. Also, I believe that the clerks are treating the same day registration ballots as provisional ballots so those votes are not yet updated as well.
When will all the votes be counted and the totals publicly available?
11/18 is the last day that the election authorities can accept valid Vote By Mail votes and then they are supposed to finalize their vote totals so the canvass can begin. The canvass must end by 11/25 and by that date the election authorities are supposed to certify their results and submit the certified results to the State Board of Elections and the Illinois SBE is tentatively set to meet on 11/30 to certify the results.
UPDATE: 11/15 (11:00am)
I checked every election authority that has public data on a website this morning and the only further update was in Clark county where 3 new votes were added, all for Tom Cross. The new margin is Cross by 381 votes.
Also, Tom Kacich of the Champaign News-Gazette has some more information about the votes expected to be made public early next week in east central Illinois.
Later this afternoon I will have some info on what to expect this upcoming week when the clerks finalize their totals.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/14 (5:00pm)
I was told about some additional counties that had updated numbers, here is what I have found:
I will check everything again most likely tomorrow. I will also put up an explanation about what to expect for next week.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/14 (1:00pm)
I was told that Hancock County had updated numbers so I called during lunch and sure enough they do. They added 511 votes over what was previously publicly available and Cross gained 127 votes. They also said this was their final count and would have no further updates. The current margin is Tom Cross by 664 votes.
I will check everything again either tonight or more likely tomorrow.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/13 (6:00pm)
I went through all of the election authorities that have a website and data again tonight and here is the update:
The current margin is Tom Cross by 537 votes.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/12 (9:00pm)
I went through all of the election authorities that have a website and data again tonight and 1 vote was updated. One vote. It was in Ogle County and it went to Frerichs so the difference changed by 1 vote, now it's Tom Cross by 491 votes.
End of Update.
With so much attention being paid to the Treasurer's race and the ballots being counted/updated in Cook County you could be forgiven for thinking that Cook County is the only area where ballots are still being counted, it is not. All 102 counties (and all 110 election authorities) are still counting late arriving vote by mail ballots, same day registration ballots and valid provisional ballots. Both Cook County and the Chicago Board of Elections have been updating their totals as they count their ballots and they are also giving us some public updates about how many ballots they have left to count, which is why we are seeing so much discussion of their totals. But the truth is every county is going through the exact same process, most of them are just not updating their totals while they're doing it and they're not likely to give us any updates until 11/18 when they stop accepting vote by mail ballots.
Analyzing the difference between the Treasurer's race and the Governor's race is suffering from the same Cook County focus, the most significant portion of the explanation lies elsewhere. When you look at the unofficial totals in the Governor's race and the Treasurer's race you'll see:
The difference maker in this race is downstate, not Cook County.
Here's a table that shows the difference between the party candidates for Treasurer and Governor (sorted by Republican underperformance):
Two things stand out, 1) Cross only outperformed Rauner in 13 of 102 counties, and the two most favorable were Sangamon and Logan where a lot of state workers live; and 2) while some of the counties where Cross most underperformed Rauner include parts of Frerichs' senate district like Vermilion and Champaign counties they also include other parts of the state like far western Adams County, southwestern Pike County and southern Marion and White counties.
Even in Cross' home base of Kendall County he only outperformed Rauner by about 3 points whereas there were 12 counties where Frerichs outperformed Quinn by more than 10 points. The downstate vote makes up the lion's share of the difference in these two races, Cross was unable to match Rauner's example and Frerichs outperformed Quinn throughout.
Cook County is getting all the attention right now simply because they're offering the most information but if you really want to understand why this race is incredibly close and the Governor's race wasn't the explanation mostly lies in the other 101 counties.
UPDATE: 11/10 (6:30pm)
Ok, I went through all of the election authorities that have a website and data, here are the updates:
Tomorrow is a holiday so I wouldn't expect many updates. I'll keep an eye on Cook, Chicago and the various collar counties just in case.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/10 (2:30pm)
Just checked Cook and Chicago and Cook had an update. There are 1,244 new votes over what was previously reported and Mike Frerichs had a net gain of 254. The margin now stands at Cross with a lead of 393 votes.
I'll check all of the election authorities for updates tonight when I get home from work.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/10 (8:00am)
Before work this morning I double checked Chicago, Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Aurora, Will, Winnebago and Rockford. The only update was in Kane where there were 1,314 new votes over what was previously reported and Tom Cross had a net gain of 1 vote.
I'll check all of the election authorities for updates tonight when I get home from work.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/9 (10:30pm)
I haven't looked through all of the various election authorities to see if there are any additional updates, it being the weekend I wasn't expecting any, but I got a text from Rich Miller tonight telling me there were new Chicago numbers and he's right so I have updated the tracker. The City of Chicago added just shy of 14,000 votes to their already reported totals and Frerichs netted a little more than 8,500 of them. The difference is now down to a very slim lead for Tom Cross of 646 votes.
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/7 (6:30pm)
End of Update.
UPDATE: 11/6 (11pm)
I went to all the election authority websites again tonight and updated any data that was new in the tracker. Here's a summary of what's new:
I had heard that Will County was supposed to have some updated numbers, which most likely would have added to Cross' advantage but they haven't updated anything yet.
Also here are a few known issues:
End of Update.
As of right now the tracker shows Tom Cross with a 14,373 vote lead. There are still 6 precincts in the City of Chicago that have not reported, all the rest in the state are in.
These are the six Chicago precincts left to report:
However that doesn't tell the whole story, there are still many additional uncounted votes, I'm just not sure how many. The Illinois Attorney General instructed election authorities that they could not count any of the early vote or vote by mail until after 7pm on election night. It used to be that the first results you would see on election night were the early voting numbers because those were counted in advance, but not anymore because they were instructed that they could not count them in advance.
So even though 109 of the 110 election authorities are showing 100% of their precincts reporting we are still likely to see the vote totals increase as more votes are counted. These are the three types of votes that may still need to be counted:
The problem is that of the vote totals currently publicly available you cannot tell which of the three types of potentially uncounted votes above are included or not included in the totals and it will vary by election authority.
For example, yesterday Chicago reported 17 of their 23 uncounted precincts (only 6 remaining) and Frerichs picked up a 4,800 vote advantage. Chicago appeared to only be updating election day votes, not mail or provisional votes.
Then late last night the Cook County Board of Elections updated their numbers even though they had already been reporting 100% of the precincts reporting and Frerichs gained another 1,100 vote advantage. Also at some point both DuPage and McHenry added votes to their totals over what was in the AP's election night totals and Cross picked up advantages of 3,680 and 4,891 respectively. I'm assuming that most of these are Vote by Mail votes but I don't know for sure.
I'm lead to believe that Chicago is still only counting election night votes, they haven't updated vote by mail votes and provisionals but I can't say for sure.
Additionally, it's hard to say for sure that the many counties throughout the state that are counting additional votes are making the updated data available on their websites. It's customary for these areas to have some data available on election night that are unofficial results and then they don't update the data again until after the numbers are official in about a month. Not every area has the sophisticated IT systems that you typically see in the bigger counties so the quality of the information varies. In fact, for about 20 election authorities the only data we have is what the AP reported on election night because some of the smaller counties don't even have a website at all.
CHECK MY WORK:
Here's how my tracker works, start by scrolling all the way to the bottom. You'll see the data for all 110 election authorities listed there. Every report above this raw data on my tracker is just an aggregation of this raw data. This is the data that I went and entered manually after looking up every EA's website last night. It was manual data entry so it's always possible that I typed something wrong or accidentally transposed Cross' and Frerichs' numbers in one county or another, but I ran a number of checks to see that the math came out right and it appears that it did. Also, you'll see a URL for most of these election authorities, you can follow those links to lookup the publicly available vote totals in each area. If you see one that has different data or more updated data than what's in the tracker let me know and I'll update the numbers. The numbers listed in pink are for the election authorities that have no publicly available data, in most cases they don't even have a website so the pink numbers are the numbers that the AP was reporting on election night. I can't verify that these pink numbers are accurate, it's just the only numbers we have.
But for now this is the most up to date count I know of anywhere. I have a day job that I can't neglect but I'll try to keep the info as current as possible, if you see anything new send a note here.
P.S. Projected Vote Totals:
On my tracker it's best to just ignore the Projected Vote total numbers. Those calculations can't account for uncounted vote when 100% of the precincts are reporting, those are only useful for election night when only part of the vote is in. Please don't assume that they are projecting what the mail and provisional votes might be, they are not.
I am going to attempt to display some very detailed live election results and also some projections based on those live results (and using historical data when no live data is available). Also, you can find real time insights on the Twitter feed here.
You can also find a full explanation of how all of the projections are calculated here.
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