Some DuPage Election Vote Totals Still Unknown

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Byline: Susan Stevens and Jack Komperda Daily Herald Staff Writers

On election night, 17 was Benjamin Elementary District 25's lucky number.

Or so officials thought.

After reconciling vote totals with numbers of actual voters, the DuPage Election Commission has found Benjamin's margin of victory on its tax increase request was closer to 12 votes than 17.

That number could change again after the commission completes its review of uncounted provisional ballots, which were cast by voters whose records were unavailable on Election Day.

This is the first year provisional ballots were used in Illinois. That change - as well as close votes in a number of DuPage County races - have added weeks of uncertainty to election results.

Some candidates and taxing districts won't know for sure whether they won or lost until Tuesday, two weeks after voters cast their ballots.

District 25 officials think they're probably safe, because they counted only seven voters casting provisional ballots in their precincts. But they're not banking on the extra cash yet.

"For the most part, it's speculation on what the final result would be," District 25 Superintendent Joseph Dubec said. "It's never normal when the election isn't official and everyone is waiting ... but as they say in baseball, 'It's not over till it's over.'"

Close races are nothing new. A couple of days after the election, officials customarily review vote totals to make sure they match the number of voters who cast ballots.

With the optical-scan ballots DuPage adopted three years ago, a jammed ballot can be mistakenly recorded twice if an election judge forgets to reset the counter, said Doreen Nelson, assistant director of the DuPage Election Commission.

If that happens, election officials will feed a precinct's entire stack of ballots back through the machine. The result is shifting vote totals, which occurred in the District 25 referendum count.

Vote totals also shifted for two other DuPage referendum questions. The defeat of Salt Creek Elementary District 48's proposed tax increase came down to only 25 votes, not the 52-vote loss recorded on election night. …