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:

  1. Why did this happen?
  2. What assumptions can we make for future elections?

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?

  • Early vote and mail vote that arrived by election day - in the past these were often counted prior to 7pm on election night and then these numbers were the first posted results you would see while waiting for all the precincts to be counted. However it was determined that the law does not allow for the clerks to count these votes before 7pm on election night and the Attorney General sent a notice to all of the election authorities to offer specific guidance on the issue. Many election authorities were still able to get these votes counted and included in their election night totals but not all. A number of election authorities were still counting these votes and adding them to their publicly available totals for a few days after the election. The General Assembly may want to review the law and consider if there are options that would allow the clerks to count these votes in advance if doing so would not harm election integrity. If the law was changed to allow all of these votes to be counted at a convenient time for the clerks then we may not see a repeat of this in the future, if not these votes may not be counted on election night depending on each election authority's size, capacity and execution.
  • Election day votes - by the end of election night 109 of the 110 election authorities had 100% of their precincts reporting, only Chicago had 23 of its 2,069 precincts left to report so the vast majority of these votes were included in the election night totals. We haven't had major problems counting election day ballots since 2006 so for future elections I would expect these vote totals will be available on election night.
  • Late arriving mail votes - any ballot with a post mark before election day can be legally valid and counted if it arrives at the election authority up to 14 days after the election. Most election authorities counted the mail ballots they had as of election day and included them in their election night totals. However for the ballots that arrived after election day most did not provide regular updates of these votes (a few did, but not many). Instead most election authorities waited until the 18th and just posted one large update with these new totals. This will likely be true for future elections.
  • Same day registration votes - this was the first year for same day registration, unregistered voters were allowed to register and vote on election day at select locations. The law that authorized same day registration expired so unless it is reauthorized it will not be part of future elections. These votes were included in the provisional ballot totals and were not added to the publicly available vote totals until two weeks after the election.
  • Provisional ballots - there will always be provisional ballots and those votes won't be included in the totals until they have been properly evaluated on a case by case basis. These votes weren't included in the publicly available totals until the 18th. There was some anecdotal evidence that in Chicago many voters who had recently registered to vote had to vote provisional because they weren't listed on the voter rolls at the polling places on election day. If that was the case there may have been many more provisional ballots than normal (and some valid voters may have been disenfranchised), better clerical work could reduce this number for future elections.

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:

  • Late arriving mail votes - there are two questions to consider here: 1) is there a partisan skew for procrastinators? and 2) what are the mechanics of executing a Vote By Mail program that could impact the timing of vote arrival? On the first question I don't think there is a partisan skew to procrastination. Perhaps polling or an academic study will show that there is but until we see some supporting data I don't think it's reasonable to assume that one party's voters will wait until the last minute while the other party's voters will mail their ballots in well ahead of time. The more likely factor in the timing of mail ballot arrival has to do with the mechanics of the VBM programs. I was told that both the Democratic and Republican parties in Illinois has significant VBM programs this year to make it as easy as can be for their most likely supporters to vote by mail. I was also told anecdotally that in this election the Republicans started their program before the Democrats. Both parties likely reached out to their most likely supporters who requested a VBM ballot to remind them to mail in their ballot. Obviously the earlier and more frequent those reminders took place likely affected when some of these ballots were returned. If both parties followed essentially the same process but one started earlier than the other then it would affect the timing of VBM ballot arrival. There is no guarantee that in the next election the timing of these efforts will remain the same or even that one or both parties will put the same amount of effort into Vote By Mail. For example in the next election one party could decide to focus on early voting instead of VBM. It's in every party/candidate's best interest to have their voters get their ballots in as early as possible so neither party/candidate necessarily wants to have a large number of their voters among the late arriving mail ballots. There is no guarantee that the timing of the VBM ballot arrival in this election will be the same in future elections and since the timing is likely to be the most significant determining factor of partisan skew there is no guarantee that either party will have a significant advantage in the late arriving VBM ballots in future elections.
  • Same day registration votes - if same day registration is renewed and used again in future elections I think this will still vary by some factors unique to each election authority. If same day registration is limited to select locations how convenient are those locations? Next, and probably more important, in that jurisdiction which parties/candidates have workers or volunteers actively working the precincts and how well versed are those workers/volunteers on the rules of same day registration and are they actively encouraging unregistered voters to participate? Unregistered potential voters are likely the least motivated/informed voters in the electorate. Of all of the people who could potentially know that same day registration exists I would expect the subset of people who couldn't find the time to register in advance the least likely to be aware of same day registration. I wouldn't expect a groundswell of organic same day registration voters, that universe will probably be defined by the efforts of county clerks to make it available and campaign/party precinct workers to take advantage of it. Having said all of that this universe will probably still lean Democratic since the demographics of unregistered voters leans Democratic as well: the young, the frequent movers, ethnic minorities and urban moreso than suburban moreso than rural. Still, a well organized suburban Republican effort could outproduce Democratic numbers if the Democrats were not similarly well organized.
  • Provisional ballots - people who have lived at the same address for many years (and have been registered to vote there) don't vote provisional. Provisional ballots skew towards the recently newly registered and/or the voters who have to frequently re-register. Like the list above this universe has demographics more likely to skew towards the Democratic party.

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.

Illinois Treasurer's Race Tracker

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:

  • DeWitt County - there were a total of 5 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 4 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Jasper County - there were a total of 4 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 4 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Marshall County - there were a total of 10 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 4 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Pope County - there were a total of 3 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 1 vote. These should be their final totals.
  • Richland County - there were a total of 29 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 9 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Macoupin County - there were a total of 79 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and it was a push, the margin remains exactly the same. These should be their final totals.
  • Bond County - there were a total of 2 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 2 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Morgan County - there were a total of 123 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 41 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Pike County - there were a total of 4 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 3 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Fayette County - there were a total of 26 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 11 votes. These should be their final totals.
  • Kane (only, not including Aurora) - there were a total of 382 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 215 votes. I'm not sure if these are their final totals.
  • Vermilion (only, not including Danville) - there were a total of 81 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Frerichs gained 1 vote. These should be their final totals.

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.

Key Dates:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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:


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:

  • Election Day Votes - these are the traditional votes made by a voter in person at their precinct on election day.
  • Early Votes - these are votes made by the voter in person at an early vote location prior to election day.
  • Vote By Mail - a voter may now for any reason complete an application to have a ballot sent to them by mail which they may fill out and return by mail. The ballot must be post marked by the day before election day and can be received and counted up until 14 days after election day.
  • Same Day Registration - this is the first year for same day registration, eligible voting age people who were not yet registered to vote could register on election day and cast a ballot.
  • Provisional Votes - voters who attempted to vote on election day but for whatever reason were deemed ineligible are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The election authority then reviews these provisional ballots on a case by case basis to determine if the ballot is valid and should be counted or not.

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.

Illinois Treasurer's Race Tracker

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:

  • Wabash County - according to the employees in the county clerk's office they found that they had accidentally counted some votes twice so after a careful review their updated numbers actually declined. There was a net total vote reduction of 690 votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross lost a net of 306 votes. I am told that these will be their final numbers.
  • Livingston County - there were a total of 51 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 10 votes.
  • Piatt County - there were a total of 21 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 10 votes. Per their website these should be their final totals.
  • I was also told that DeWitt, Jasper, Marshall, Pope and Richland had updated numbers however Marshall and DeWitt do not have new totals on their websites, the rest don't have websites and by the time I was able to call all of them their offices were already closed. I will hopefully find time to call them when they reopen on Monday.

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:

  • Kane County (only, not including Aurora) - there were a total of 564 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 44 votes.
  • Lee County - there were a total of 18 new votes over what was previously publicly reported and Cross gained 2 votes.

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.

Previous Updates

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:

  • In Cook County Tom Cross underperformed Bruce Rauner by about 2 points while Mike Frerichs and Pat Quinn ran essentially the same, within 0.2% of each other. The difference in Cook County is the Libertarian candidate in the Treasurer's race got almost 2 points more than the Libertarian candidate in the Governor's race in Cook County and since Frerichs and Quinn received essentially the same percentage here this basically came out of Cross' pocket.
  • In the 5 traditional collar counties Cross underperformed Rauner by almost 2.5 points while Frerichs did better than Quinn by a little more than half a point.
  • In the downstate 96 counties the gap was the most pronounced, Cross underperformed Rauner by 3.5 points while Frerichs did better than Quinn by more than 4 points.

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):

St. Clair3.20%-3.46%0.26%
Rock Island2.73%-2.87%0.14%

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.

Illinois Treasurer's Race Tracker

UPDATE: 11/10 (6:30pm)

Ok, I went through all of the election authorities that have a website and data, here are the updates:

  • Kane County - there are 241 new votes over what was previously reported and Mike Frerichs had a net gain of 50 votes.
  • Logan County - There are 337 new votes over what was previously reported and Tom Cross had a net gain of 148 votes.
  • Ogle County - there is 1 new vote over what was previously reported and it went to Cross so a net gain of 1 vote for Cross.

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)

Today's updates:

  • City of Rockford - they added 423 votes to their existing totals, Frerichs had a net gain of 164 votes.
  • Cook County Suburbs - they added 7,454 votes to their existing totals, Frerichs had a net gain of 2,029 votes.

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:

  • City of Chicago - they finally included the last 6 uncounted precincts in their totals, they now have 100% precincts reporting. It appears that the City of Chicago totals only show regular votes, it doesn't appear they have vote by mail votes or any provisionals (including same day registration) counted. See more on that here. Frerichs had a net gain here of 1,171 votes.
  • Cook County Suburbs - they added a little over 6,500 votes to their existing numbers, I'm guessing these were vote by mail ballots. Frerichs had a net gain here of 1,509 votes.
  • Jackson County - they added almost 1,700 votes to their existing numbers, Frerichs had a net gain of 53 votes.
  • City of Rockford - they added about 600 votes to their existing totals, Frerichs had a net gain of 231 votes.
  • Ogle County - they added 4 votes to their existing totals, Frerichs had a net gain of 2.

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:

  • Fulton County - I went to check to see if there was any update and tonight I couldn't find a link to their totals. Not sure if I am just missing it or what. I swear it was there last night.
  • Jersey County - I am still using the AP's numbers here. The numbers they have listed on their website are so small they can't be right. The AP's numbers are consistent with historical norms, the numbers they have listed just seem like there has to be an error. I'll keep an eye on this.
  • Marshall County - their website was down tonight and displaying a server error.
  • 20 Small Counties - all the data in pink on the tracker is still just what the AP reported for these 20 small counties. Most of them don't even have a county website so short of calling them all I can't verify the AP's reported numbers.

End of Update.

Illinois Treasurer's Race Tracker

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:

  1. Early Vote votes - these should be the easiest/quickest to count and may already have been counted in most jurisdictions but I can't say for sure.
  2. Vote by Mail votes - I'm told that in the larger election authorities these didn't even start to get counted until yesterday at the earliest for some and not yet at all for others, also because of the mail these may still be coming in. As long as they were postmarked by Monday 11/3 the election authorities can still accept them up until 11/18. Also, since they were not allowed to open and count these in advance there are some election authorities that are still counting them.
  3. Provisional Ballot votes - this includes same day registration votes, and we saw the long lines for these votes in the City of Chicago as the last voters weren't done until 3am. Also, there were reports of voters in Chicago who had registered recently having to fill out provisional ballots. Typically provisional ballots do not have a high success rate but it seems that there will be some valid provisional votes that 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.

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.

Illinois Governor's Race Live Results

Illinois Treasurer's Race Live Results

You can also find a full explanation of how all of the projections are calculated here.

First, an announcement:

I know I said I wasn't going to be able to post any live election results on election night the way were able to back in the primary but I spent some time looking at the way we were able to find data in the primary and I may actually post some stuff on the Governor's race and the Treasurer's race on election night if things work out as I hope. No guarantee, but if some data availability is similar to the primary I may be able to automate part of the data collection process. If so and I only have to do a little bit of manual data entry then I'll turn it on and make it available. I already wrote all the forumlas and built a dashboard to display everything so either it's doable & we have a bunch of really interesting info or you're at the mercy of the news orgs again. I'll do what I can.

What to Watch For:

Election day is two days away, here's what to watch for on election night to give you a sense of how things are going:

Governor's Race:
  • Rauner has a publicly stated goal of reaching 20% in the City of Chicago (2010 Brady had 17.41%). Keep an eye on the Chicago returns to see if he's meeting this goal. Rauner has been a more frequent campaigner on the south and west sides of Chicago than his Republican predecessors, a strategy that has won both praise and criticism, it will be interesting to see if it pays off.
  • In the Cook County suburbs in 2010 Brady only got 39.50% and came up just short while Kirk took 43.47% and had a narrow win. Rauner is going to try to get a level of support that matches Kirk's 2010 numbers. In 2010 Quinn got 53.63% and he'll try to hold that. Recent polling in this area has had Quinn in the mid-50's and Rauner in the low 40's so it's worth watching closely. (see below for the poll tracker and regional support tabs)
  • In 2010 the Democrats downstate numbers were historically, abnormally low. The Democrats downstate support bounced back to numbers more historically consistent by 2012 so it should be very difficult for Rauner to repeat Brady's 58.66% downstate. However as Governor, Pat Quinn has closed a number of downstate facilities for budget reasons and his little known primary opponent was able to win a number of counties in Central and Southern Illinois so Quinn's downstate bounce isn't as high as you might expect. (note: you might be tempted to attribute Brady's 2010 downstate success to being a downstater but actually Kirk won an even greater percentage of the downstate vote than Brady did so it wasn't a regional support issue, downstaters in 2010 just went overwhelmingly Republican regardless of where the candidate was from)
  • If I am able to publish live election night results you'll be able to see exactly how the candidates in both the Governor's race and the Treasurer's race are performing in each of these regions. If not you're on your own and it's unlikely you're going to be able to find this info from any of the news organizations. If you're looking for three bellweather counties that may give you an indication of how downstate is going I'd recommend looking at Madison, Fulton and Franklin counties. Each county has traditionally been a county that typically slightly favors the Democrats but that they were only able to score in the low 40's in 2010.
  • Libertarian Chad Grimm has been polling in the 4-7% range and the conventional wisdom is that he is disproportionately taking those votes from Rauner. In the 2010 Governor's race the various 3rd party candidates combined to take 7.28% of the vote. The higher Grimm's support the more voters Rauner is going to have to win over elsewhere to win the race.
Treasurer's Race:
  • There hasn't been a lot of polling in this race but what polling there is shows this race is essentially a coin flip. Cross is going to look to replicate Rauner's goals above, Frerichs is going to hope to match Quinn's goals in the Chicago media market and hope to exceed Quinn's support downstate.

Look at the polling list below, I do have some concern. A few of these polls have some issues, the rest all come from the same pollster. Here's a list of issues:

  • The McKeon poll is so weird it's hard to have any faith in it. I could be a lot more specific and a lot meaner but let's just call it weird and move on.
  • The Rasmussen poll doesn't even list Grimm by name, it just has a category for other. There are some recent CBS/NYT/YouGov polls that have the same flaw that I didn't even bother listing for the same reason. This is a three candidate race, polling a two candidate race isn't going to give you great polling.
  • The Tribune poll in September showed a level of Democratic participation that would have been a record in a midterm election if it actually happened, there was probably just an excessive amount of Democrats in the sample. The October poll showed historically high Republican support in some subsets, the Collars in particular. Did they over correct on the 2nd sample? Are they just getting weird samples? Or maybe, are they getting something right that others are missing? Because of the large swing from one poll to the other the latter question seems unlikely but who knows.
  • And then you look at the Sun-Times, Reboot Illinois, Illinois Observer and Capitol Fax polls and you get concerned that they all use the same pollster, We Ask America. It's nice that we have so many WAA polls and they show consistency within a reasonable range of values but however well researched and well intentioned their likely voter model and weighting is it's a very hard thing to get right. If their assumptions are off by even a little bit you may find that the results on election night don't exactly match your expectations from looking at recent polling.
Governor's Race Poll Tracker
Historical Results By Region (Traditional Collars)

Early voting and vote by mail are about to end and the reports so far seem to indicate that these early and mail voters will exceed the numbers from 2010. This has lead a number of analysts to try to crunch the numbers and figure out which candidate has the advantage from early voting, something that can't be done unless you know the voting history of each voter. The campaigns and the state parties have this data, pundits typically do not, so the only thing you can do is put together a list of good questions to ask these campaigns/parties and hope it will give you useful information. Let me explain.

I vote in every election, I am a habitual voter. The sun will rise in the east, the Cubs will not win the World Series and I will vote. No campaign should spend any money or effort trying to get me out to vote, that would be like spending money to remind me to breathe. Last week I voted early, as I have in every election since early voting became legal. I didn't vote early because of any candidate's GOTV operation, I voted early because that's what I do.

If you want to measure which campaign's GOTV operation is performing the best you need to be able to separate out which voters are habitual voters vs. which voters are infrequent voters and early/mail voting GOTV targets. The campaigns have each defined a universe of infrequent voters that are very likely to support their candidate if they make it to the polls and they're working like crazy to GOTV these voters with either early vote or vote by mail. In order to correctly measure which side is performing best for early/mail voting you need to isolate and measure these efforts.

The campaigns divide voters into three categories 1) will vote for my candidate, 2) will vote for the opponent, 3) don't know. The size of the first two groups is much bigger than you would probably expect. In the old days they would determine their support group (run universe) from the list of people who've pledged support (their plusses) along with other potentially telling factors like the partisan strength of their precinct or their partisan primary voting history and other significant demographic characteristics. These days the national parties are paying to develop modeling scores for their key races which take all of the available information about each voter and uses it to develop a number that measures the likelihood that the voter will support the candidate relative to all the other voters. They can use this info to determine which voters are very likely to support one candidate or the other, although it's a little bit harder to predict what happens with the 3rd party candidates.

Once you understand all of these variables it's clear to see why you can't just look at raw early/mail vote totals and draw conclusions from them. Here are the questions someone will need to ask of the campaigns:

  1. Of the total early/mail voters how many are you certain are voting for your candidate, how many for your opponent?
  2. What percentage of the total early/mail vote universe are habitual voters? How many are you certain are voting for your candidate, how many for your opponent?
  3. What percentage of the total early/mail vote universe are the infrequent voters targeted by early/mail vote GOTV efforts? How many are you certain are voting for your candidate, how many for your opponent?

Also, if you can get them to show their work that would be even better.

© Illinois Electon Data