Tom's mailbag April 18, 2014

Tom's mailbag April 18, 2014

Sadly, no questions about hockey, but plenty of comments and questions about athletic uniforms, Bruce Weber, constitutional amendments, restaurant needs, holidays, political punching bag Gordy Hulten and what may be the highest point in a town that was named for its flatness (Champaign: an expanse of level open country).


Champaign-Urbana’s peak

“Tom, The UI is installing artificial turf on the playing fields north of the soccer field, and between Oak and First streets.  The pile of dirt that they have removed may be temporarily the highest (on ground) point in C-U.  Why have they excavated so much dirt/soil/subsoil?  Are they secretly digging to North Korea?”

Urbana campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler says that the UI’s Facilities & Services department says the excavation “is part of the Ikenberry Commons construction project and is for an underground stormwater detention system. Once the system is installed, the dirt will be backfilled.”

So forget about sledding or skiing off the summit next winter.

More on restaurant fare

This comment is left over from last week’s question about what people would like to see in the space once occupied by the Prairie Fire restaurant and bar. Maybe it’s a idea that a Campustown entrepreneur could jump on and develop: sushi with burritos, sushi and barbecue, sushi/cheeseburger/beer. Who’s with me? 

“A really good seafood/sushi place without Chinese food.”


Illinois constitutional initiatives

“I have a question about the proposed redistricting amendment process. I am not sure of my facts, but for some reason I recall hearing or reading that Illinois law only allows that a certain number of amendments can be proposed to the voters at any one time. If memory serves, it may be no more than two.  

“Mr. Madigan has already proposed one amendment and the Illinois House and Senate have voted to have it on the ballot. It would not surprise me if he had another one in the wings and that would squeeze out the (Yes for Independent Maps) amendment. Politicians do not want this amendment, so they will do whatever is necessary to derail it. Could you check into this possibility? It would be a shame if the (Yes for Independent Maps) amendment, proposed by the people, was to be derailed in this way. Thanks for your consideration.”

You are correct that there is a limitation on the number of proposed amendments to the Constitution in any one election, but that restriction is three and it affects only those proposed by the Legislature. There is no restriction on initiatives proposed by others.

Here’s what the Illinois Constitution says:

“The General Assembly shall not submit proposed amendments to more than three Articles of the Constitution at any one election.”

And: “Amendments to Article IV of this Constitution (those affecting the Legislature) may be proposed by a petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at least 8 percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election. Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV.”

Lawmakers already have approved placing two amendments on the ballot — one about whether voting rights should be protected regardless of race, sexual orientation, or other factors. the other about enhanced rights for crime victims.  

Those proposed amendments, advanced by Democrats and apparently designed to gin up voter turnout next November, cover two of the three proposals the Legislature can suggest. A third measure — giving voters the right to abolish the office of lieutenant governor — could get on the ballot if the Senate OKs it by May 4. The House already has done so.

Meanwhile two other constitutional amendments could be on the November ballot, the independent redistricting commission proposal advanced by the Yes for Independent Maps group, and another that would implement term limits and change the number of seats in both houses of the Legislature (cutting the Senate from 59 to 41 members and increasing the House from 118 to 123 members).

Although backers of both of those initiatives say they have enough petition signatures to get them on the ballot, they’re also expecting legal challenges designed to knock them off.

Incidentally, I’ll have some interesting information on the Yes for Independent Maps petition drive in Sunday’s column in The News-Gazette.


Bruce Weber’s new contract

Former Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber received a one-year extension on his contract at Kansas State. It now runs to 2019. According to the Kansas City Star, Weber’s compensation essentially remains the same, his salary of $1.85 million increasing by $100,000 each year he remains. If he stays at Kansas State through 2019, he’ll be up to $2.25 million on top of a $500,000 retention bonus. All that money for instructing a bunch of 20-year-old kids in shorts how to put a ball through a hoop and preventing a team of other 20-year-old kids from doing the same. Ain’t this a great country?

Anyway, Weber’s new contract brought out this range of reaction ...

“Congratulations to Coach Weber! His accomplishments at Kansas St. have obviously been appreciated by his administration, AD and fans. He is an excellent coach and a class act!  During his tenure at Illinois, Coach Weber was an excellent coach and class act. Many of us who are long-time Illini fans do miss him and the packed houses that his basketball teams always provided.”

“Nobody at Illinois should miss Bruce Weber. He is a small, petty person who was never cut out for a high profile coaching job. His failure at Illinois is evident and we should be glad he’s gone.”


New athletic team uniforms

There were a similar variety of responses to the changes in Illinois athletic uniforms. Apparently no one like my idea for the new UI football uniforms: white tops, plain blue numbers, and decorative spatters of blood all over front, personalized on each uni for each player. Kind of an homage to Dick Butkus, and to the blood-sucking NCAA.

 “I prefer tradition and the collegiate font. The Michigans, Ohio States, Notre Dames, etc. cling to their traditions.  Not us, we redefine, over and over.  Why?  The new garb isn’t going to put more fans in the seats.”

“I really like the new Illini uniforms, especially for football. Can’t wait to see the combinations the team wears for each game.”


Holiday/Holy Day

“Can you explain to me how county and city offices can close on a church holy day? I was surprised to hear how many places are closed today.”

I believe you are mistaken. According to the Champaign County and city of Urbana calendars today is “Spring Day.” The Urbana school district calls it “Spring Holiday.” Perhaps suffering from frankness, the Champaign school district says that this weekend, including today and Monday, is “Spring Holidays (Good Friday & Easter Monday).”

The city of Champaign — which apparently is opposed both to celebrating spring and taking the day off — is open for business today.


Gordy Hulten

Gordy Hulten, elected Champaign County clerk two years ago with 54 percent of the vote, and still unopposed for reelection this year, continues to be a point of focus for voter and especially for Democrats (although not enough yet for anyone to declare that they want to try to unseat him).


“Wondering if Gordy Hulten really deserves the piling on beating he’s getting from the Democratic Party leadership.”

And ....

“In your Wednesday article, ‘Klein: More errors in county’s primary results,’ you chose to mention only three of the seven errors that (Champaign County Democratic Party Chair) Al Klein pointed out in his press release at:

In one of the more intriguing errors that you must not have had room for in your article, Mr. Klein writes:

“‘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!”

“In addition, he also helpfully included a link to the election database itself where the Cunningham 17 voting data summary could be directly inspected:

“Since there’s only one house with registered voters located in the part of Cunningham 17 that lies in the 15th District, all supposed 63 processed ballots (representing a total of 44 votes and 19 under votes) in Lynn Foster’s State Committeewoman race would have had to have come from (a hypothesized) 63 people residing in that one house, who all happened to  choose to take Democratic ballots in the primary!

“Moreover, since their 63 processed ballots didn’t show up in the Cunningham 17 precinct data for any other races in the 15th District (either as votes or as undervotes), each of those hypothesized 63 people would have needed to have voted a special “Lynn Foster Only”-ballot, that had only that particular race on it!

“Given this and other reductio ad absurdum arguments for the other anomalies that occurred in the various election mistabulations highlighted on Mr. Klein’s website, do you think that Mr. Hulten will continue to go on claiming that his election results are still “100 percent accurate” and that he’ll continue to allege that Mr. Klein is simply “playing politics” by pointing to Hulten’s logically impossible and/or mathematically impossible results?

“Also, when the state election board attempts to certify the results on Friday, do they have checks built into their software to ensure that pairs of sums that logically have to be equal (such as the number of processed ballots for a state committeman and a state committeewoman in a particular congressional district) are in fact equal?

“Are there any known cases where election results were certified by the state of Illinois and then later were found to be erroneous?”


It’s clear that mistakes were made in the primary election process, particularly in the reporting of results in some down-ballot Democratic races that were uncontested, although it’s not clear who or what is responsible for those errors. Was it a ballot design issue, a software problem, or is it something else? Someone with knowledge of election systems, I trust, is delving into it.

Hulten was called to appear before the county board Tuesday night to explain the errors. It was at the end of a long (more than 4 1/2 hours) meeting and according to my notes Hulten was “on the stand” at about 10:45 p.m. and board members were running out of energy.

But he both admitted mistakes and said that he is confident in the accuracy of the results that now are declared official and which have been reported to the State Board of Elections.

“We have election systems that administered by humans, yes, and our elections are conducted among humans,yes. and there are inconsistencies in our process, yes. Our machines tabulate votes and report votes accurately, and after retabulating tens of thousands of ovals the number of votes that shifted from the first count throughout the 40-day election process to what we did during the retabulation process is incredibly small and should give people great confidence that our election results for Champaign County are very, very accurate.”

Hulten said that “we have closed the book on the primary election.”

He added, “We are evaluating everything that we did in preparation for the March election to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. We weren’t the only jurisdiction in the state of Illinois to have issues with this particular piece of software used to program ballots and the piece of software used to read the results from ballots. We’re working with our vendor, with the state board of elections and with a bunch of other jurisdictions to make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again. And we’ve got a number of procedures that we’re evaluating now and we will test all summer long. We will do more extensive testing prior to the general election in November.”

He reiterated, “I have every confidence in our election results as we certified to the state board of elections and I stand by them.”

But two other local election-related issues got an airing, and pointed out just how imperfect our voting procedures are despite the millions spent.

First there the late opening on Election Day of the City of Champaign Precinct 9 polling place at 1307 N. Mattis Ave. One voter said she arrived at the polling place at 6 a.m. but found it was locked. Hulten acknowledged the problem.

“Obviously, opening a polling place late is absolutely unacceptable, absolutely inexcusable,” he said. “If you have served as an election judge in Champaign County in the years that I’ve been county clerk you know that I talk at the beginning of every election judge class and the first thing that I talk about is the need to be punctual. The judges are reminded to show up at 5 o’ clock in the morning to deploy their equipment in the order that’s in the instruction manual and to make sure that the doors are unlocked and ready to process voters at 6 o’ clock in the morning. And again, election judges are human and we can’t be everywhere at all times and what we have to do is deal with this on a case by case basis, and hopefully some additional training and additional reminders will prevent anything like that is from happening again.”

The second problem also was in Champaign, in a polling place at the E.H. Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., where they ran out of Democratic primary ballots for “about 10 minutes,” Hulten said.

He said there was a higher than anticipated number of Democratic voters in central Champaign.

“If I had printed more ballots I wouldn’t have needed to bring more ballots,” Hulten admitted to Democratic county board member Josh Hartke.

As to whether known erroneous election results ever have been certified by the state board of elections, I cannot recall. I doubt it but I’ll try to check on that one next week.


Thanks again for all the interesting questions. Enjoy the great weather and especially the spectacularly exciting Blues-Blackhawks NHL playoff series. That exhausting 101-minute game Thursday night — won by those pesky Blues — was one for the ages.

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Political Observer wrote on April 19, 2014 at 1:04 am

And a very Good Friday to you, too, Mr. Kacich, and may we all give thanks to you for this very interesting and informative edition of Tom's Mailbag!  While you've put together a number of excellent editions of the mailbag ever since its birth just before last Christmas, today's edition is, in my considered opinion, the best you've done yet, and I whole-heartedly thank you for your many efforts in  taking on this additional role of preparing your weekly mailbag responses, over and above your usual duties at the News-Gazette.

Political Observer wrote on April 19, 2014 at 1:04 am

For News-Gazette readers interested in the fair conduct of elections, or for those who may just  happen to be interested in a good mystery story, I'd like to suggest that you take the time to click on the link that accompanies the final question in Tom's Mailbag above. (I've repeated it below, in an effort to save you the time of having to type it in by hand.)


Political Observer wrote on April 19, 2014 at 1:04 am

What the information at the link above will allow you to do is take a look at some of the logically-impossible and / or mathematically-impossible election results that our Election Authority, Sgt. Hulten, has produced, on both the Democratic and the Republican sides of Champaign County's recent primary.  

The fact that Sgt. Hulten has completely stood by and emphatically backed these obviously-fictitious results, while calling them 100% accurate and while stressing how carefully he has checked and re-checked them, will likely eventually help to make Champaign County the laughing stock of the State of Illinois, especially now that his results have apparently been certified as official and accepted as final, by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Political Observer wrote on April 19, 2014 at 1:04 am

The second link that appears in the final question of this edition of Tom's Mailbag above is also one that's well-worth clicking on:

This link gives the recent primary election results for Champaign County's Cunningham 17 Precinct in Urbana.  If you skip down to almost the end of the election results for the Democrats, just before you get to the "Precinct Committeeman" race, you'll find a section labeled the "15TH STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE" races.   You'll also find that in these now official, state-certified races, Lynn Foster supposedly received 44 Votes and 19 Under Votes in her unopposed State Central Committeewoman race (in the 15th Congressional District), while Brandon Phelps received 0 Votes and 0 Under Votes in his unopposed State Central Committeeman race (in the 15th Congressional District).

The key thing is, though, these are paired races in the sense that every ballot on which Lynn Foster's name appears also has Brandon Phelps' name appearing on it as well, and vice versa -- in fact, Brandon Phelps' name always appears immediately after Lynn Foster's name, in the very next race.

So you can see that if Lynn Foster has supposedly received a total of 63 processed ballots (in the form of 44 Votes and 19 Under Votes), then Brandon Phelps must have received a total of 63 processed ballots, as well, in the form of some combination of Votes and Under Votes that together sum up to 63. The fact that Lynn Foster has supposedly received a total of 63 processed ballots and Brandon Phelps has received none, then, is a mathematical impossibility, given that the two names always co-occur on ballots, with Phelps' name always appearing in the race that immediately follows Foster's.

Thus, no matter what kind of snow job Sgt. Hulten may try to give voters about "too much white space" and / or "ballot design issues," he's stuck with a mathematical contradiction that is now engraved in granite, in the form of official, state-certified election results that simply can't represent actual election results.

Political Observer wrote on April 19, 2014 at 4:04 am

Here are a couple of things I might add in regard to this puzzling anomaly of Sgt. Hulten vouching for the authenticity of State Committeewoman candidate Lynn Foster's phantom 44 Votes and 19 Under Votes, which would all have to come from the very narrow sliver of the 15th Congressional District that lies in Cunningham 17:

1.  Come on, Gordy!  If you check out your own database of voter registration data, you'll find that there's only one house in that ultra-small area that has registered voters in it, and even there the two regular residents have tended to both take Republican primary ballots!  How likely do you think it is, Sir, that there are now some 61 additional people living in that one house, and that the whole crew of 63 all decided to take Democratic ballots in this year's Spring Primary?!  Moreover, did you give all 63 phantom voters special "Lynn-Foster-only ballots" so that their votes wouldn't show up anywhere else on any of the other Democratic races in Cunningham 17?  What kind of fools do you take us for, anyway?

2.  There's also another very interesting piece of additional information that probably should be thrown in here, as well, just to make things interesting:  Those phantom 63 processed votes for Lynn Foster showed up for the first time only AFTER Sgt. Hulten  did his extensive recount of all the Democratic votes that were cast in the 2014 primary.  That is to say, when he reported his tabulated results for the first time on election night itself, his database showed that Lynn Foster and Brandon Phelps both had final identical counts of 0 Votes and 0 Under Votes, and everything else in Cunningham 17 also appeared consistent at that time!

In other words, it seems that it took his extra-special, 100% accurate, ever-so-careful re-counting, checking and re-checking abilities to find those extra 63 phantom processed ballots, because they certainly didn't show up in the original tabulation of all the ballots on election night!  So here's congratulations to Sgt. Hulten for screwing things up even greater, while he was in the process of trying to correct the first mess he'd made earlier!

This idea of a new introduction of phantom ballots and the new presence of contradictory results in the retabulated database is a point I'll come back to several more times, when I next have a bit more free time to sit down and continue describing the tales of Hulten's "100% accurate" yet thoroughly-corrupted election database...

Political Observer wrote on April 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

I apologize for taking so long to resume posting on the election issues.  I've been a bit busy lately, and, also, I want to make sure that I'm "100% right" on the claims that I make, so I've been checking and re-checking my various sources.  ;-)

Political Observer wrote on April 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

Also, I'd especially like to add that I'm sorry if I appear to be completely dominating the discussion here.  That's certainly not my intention.

I am indeed very interested in election issues, I think this is a very important issue for Champaign County, and I'm surprised that there apparently are so few people in this community who seem to care one way or another whether votes are counted accurately.

But the weather is beautiful, there are a lot of things going on this time of year and I can understand that there may even be a lot of people who would rather not speak out publicly about this, even though they may still be quite interested privately.

Political Observer wrote on April 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

Oh, yes!  There's one more thing I forgot to add...

If you have any questions about the election or its aftermath, please feel free to fire away.

I've been thinking of starting a new feature, "Political Observer's Mailbag," where I can take questions on what happened with regard to the miscount in the recent election, so if there's anything you were confused about, I can try to do my best to give you my interpretation of what went on...


pattsi wrote on April 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

There is a lot of dialogue here and a local blog. None of the postings have pondered the fact, at least so far, that the Illinois Board of Election has not taken an measures to explore all of the data being checked and double checked. Why is this?

According to the IBOE web site, "The State Board of Elections is an independent state agency that was provided for by the 1970 Illinois Constitution to supervise the registration of voters and the administration of elections throughout the state. Created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1973, the Board's purpose is to serve as the central authority for all Illinois election law, information and procedures in Illinois. The state funded portion of the State Board of Elections’ budget is $13.4 million for FY 2012 with an authorized headcount of 77."

Is not this the source to answer the many questions that are being posited?

Political Observer wrote on April 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Let me say, first of all, that this is an excellent question.  Unfortunately, it deserves a much, much longer answer than I can give you in a brief reply.

Indeed, if I attempted to give a complete answer to this question, it would probably be necessary to write a book in order to do so. But I think you'd agree that that probably wouldn't really benefit either of us, would it?

Political Observer wrote on April 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

So, rather than write a book to answer your question, suppose I

(1)  First point out a questionable assumption you may have made in formulating your question, then

(2)  Make an additional suggestion for how one could approach the issue, and then

(3)  Follow up by showing some interesting results that can be obtained when this procedure is actually followed? 

Taken all together, these efforts might at the very least show that the State Board of Elections cares about some things, if not others...

And perhaps we could even break a bit of "news" and advance the discussion of the miscounting issue a bit, at the same time.

Political Observer wrote on April 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

After that, I'm planning to go on to make some comments that I was going to make anyway. 

But, in doing so, I'll  try to add some discussion, from time to time,  that bears on the issue you asked about, and I'll also try to add some additional vantage points for looking at the questions that are involved.

Political Observer wrote on April 24, 2014 at 12:04 am

So, here we go.

First, to get us started, let's suppose that someone were to question whether it was indeed a  'fact' that, "the Illinois Board of Election has not taken any measures to explore all of the data being checked and double checked."

If so, what then might one do to try to check something like this out, to try to establish that this claim really could be considered a 'fact'?

Well, perhaps one of the most obvious things to do would be go to the website

and examine what the certified results for the Champaign County 2014 primary actually look like.

You might be surprised to find that the State Board of Elections actually has been doing some things -- rather quietly, it seems, behind the scenes --  to make the final results of the primary election at least a little bit more accurate than the so-called "Final" results that Sgt. Hulten reported on the County Clerk's website on the day of certification.

Political Observer wrote on April 24, 2014 at 1:04 am

Pssst!  Here's a hint:

Take a look at pp. 48 through 53 of the ISBE report, at the site that's linked in the post just above.  (Those pages of the report can be found on pp. 58 through 63 of the 153-page pdf.  So in your pdf viewer, skip down in the document until the page reader reads, "Page: 58 of 153," and then take a look at the next 5 pages.)

Likewise, you might find it interesting to take a look at page 121 of the report, which corresponds to "Page 131 of 153" in the pdf.

In fact, let's take a look at this second correction first.

You may recall that Al Klein correctly pointed out earlier this month:


[Excerpt: ]  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).


Well, on page 131 of 153 in the pdf, you'll see that the State Board of Elections has indeed followed the advice of Mr. Klein,  ignored the incorrect labeling in the Final election data submitted by Sgt. Hulten, and instead correctly certified Lisa Holder White as a candidate for the Fourth District  Appellate Court, the appropriate office for the race. 

Political Observer wrote on April 24, 2014 at 2:04 am

Now, let's examine the 2014 Democratic primary voting totals for the State Committeewomen and Committeemen races in the 13th and 15th Congressional Districts, along with the associated mathematical contradictions and logical impossibilities that show that they cannot possibly be accurate.  

The relevant numbers are given below.  We 've presented them in the form  "Votes / Processed Ballots"...  where Processed Ballots  =  Votes + Under Votes ...and there are no over votes, of course, since all four of these are unopposed races.


13th Congressional District:

             Original            Recount            Final
J M.....450 / 7775......5284 / 7820.....5305 / 7849
T R....6478 / 7775.....5152 / 7827.....5173 / 7856


15th Congressional District:

L F.....301 / 694.........587 / 763.........587 / 763
B P....574 / 694.........517 / 696.........517 / 696


First, let's look at the top set of numbers, which were tabulated for the 13th Congressional District, and then, within that set of numbers, let's check out the first column of the data, which corresponds to the Original vote tabulations that were reported on election night. 

As you can see, there were 7775 ballots processed in the State Committee races, for both Jayne Mazzotti (J M) in the first row and for Terry Redman (T R) in the second row.  (Recall that each of these two candidates ran unopposed.  The fact that those two processed ballots totals both came out the same, then, is mathematically required by the fact that any ballot that contained  Jayne Mazzotti's name also featured Terry Redman's name,  and vice versa.)

Now, let's stay within the first column, but move down to the 15th District Committee races, which featured the unopposed candidates Lynn Foster (L F) and Brandon Phelps (B P).  Once again, they both have the same processed ballot totals, which in this case is 694.  This is quite reassuring, of course, because these two numbers also have to be equal, as explained above.

Yet another check that we can make on the data is to sum the total processed ballots for the 13th and 15th Congressional Districts together, to get 7775 + 694 = 8469 processed ballots in the election, and this is indeed the number of processed ballots that were tabulated for all the non-federal Democratic races.

One of the main things that triggered the recount of all the Democratic ballots, however, is the comparison of the 450 votes that Jayne Mazzotti received versus the 6478 votes that Terry Redman received.  What could possibly account for this huge discrepancy in the votes for two unopposed candidates?  (In addition, if you look at the data precinct by precinct, you'll find that in a rather large number of precincts, there were no votes recorded for Jayne Mazzotti at all, which is not at all plausible considering the considerable number of votes for Terry Redman that were recorded in the race right below hers.) 

The rationale behind doing a recount was not only to make sure that all the votes were finally counted, but also to ally any suspicions that other results might have been affected in less obvious ways.  In other words, if  these results are so strangely out-of-whack, how do we know that the rest of the results for the other races would have any kind of accuracy associated with them?

Now, when the votes were recounted after Hulten had supposedly corrected all of his desynchronization errrors (between the physical layout of the races on  the ballots and their underlying electronic counterparts), the new totals took the values that are given in the middle column in the table above.  Jayne Mazzotti's votes increased by more than a factor of 10 in the recount, increasing from 450 to 5284.  Meanwhile, Lynn Foster's votes nearly doubled, from 301 to 587.  Finally, the votes for Terry Redman decreased from 6478 to 5152, and those for Brandon Phelps decreased from  574  to 517.

At first glance, these new numbers look much more plausible as possible vote totals, since within both the 13th District and the 15th District, the two unopposed candidates have fairly similar totals, 5284 vs. 5152 in the 13th and 587 vs. 517 in the 15th. 

The funny thing is, though, that we no longer ended up with the same totals of 7775 in the 13th District and 694 in the 15th District that we had before.

 But since we were simply re-scanning the same ballots that had been scanned on election day, how could we possibly end up with so many extra ballots the second time around? (There's just no way that should happen!) 
And not only that, but why did we get the different totals of 7820 and 7827 for the 2 races in the 15th Congressional District and the different totals of 763 and 696 for the 2 races in the 13th Congressional District?  Mathematically it's not possible for those numbers to turn out different from each other, because of the pairing of candidates that we noted earlier. 

So there are still at least several mysteries going on here!

The final column gives the results that Hulten certified with the state, when he added in the provisional ballots that he accepted and the absentee ballots that were postmarked in time, but that arrived after election day.

In the 13th District, there were 30 such ballots, but one of them was apparently a Federal-only ballot, and the State Committee races don't appear on a Federal-only ballot, so the number of processed ballots increased by a total of 30 - 1 = 29, from 7820 to 7849 in the case of Jayne Mazzotti, and from 7827 to 7856 in the case of Terry Redman. 

In the 15th District, there apparently  weren't any additional ballots that needed to be added in, so the totals remain the same.

So here's the point.  Sgt. Hulten should have computed checks like these into his election numbers, and should have used them to diagnose inaccuracies in the data.  In particular, the large discrepancy in the 13th District between Lynn Foster's and Brandon Phelps' processed ballots of 763 and 696 would suggest that funny things are going on; when numbers that are supposed to be equal end up differing by 763 - 696 = 67 votes, it suggests a large irregularity in the vote-counting and would have led to the detection of the 63 phantom processed ballots in Cunningham 17 in the Lynn Foster race.  (These 63 phantom ballots correspond to the 44 votes and 19 under votes that Hulten mistakenly assigned to Foster.)

Well, here's what's interesting in the results that are reported at the ISBE website on the pages noted in the previous post:  The final vote total of 587 votes that Hulten reported for Lynn Foster in the 15th District has been adjusted, and exactly 44 votes have been subtracted, leaving her with 587 - 44 = 543 votes!  In other words, the 44 phantom votes that Hulten gave her from Cunningham 17 have now been removed from her total, and the value published by the State of Illinois corresponds to an adjusted total of 543 / 700 !

So even though the various mathematical checks that we noted earlier are still violated in the data, at least the 44 phantom votes from Cunningham 17 have now been subtracted, and the mathematical discrepancies in the totals are quite a bit smaller than they used to be!

In other words, in the 15th District, the totals of 7849 and 7856 are close, but  not equal like they should be, and in the 13th District, the totals of 700 and 696 are close, but not equal like they should be.  And all 4 of these numbers are too large, relative to the correct values of 7775 and 694 that they should be...

But, hey, at least the phantom votes and ballots from Cunningham 17 are gone now, despite Sgt. Hulten ever admitting that there was ever any kind of problem in the data!!

Political Observer wrote on May 01, 2014 at 12:05 am

So, to summarize things up, the Illinois State Board of Elections does indeed care about a few of Sgt. Hulten's errors, after all.

First, they corrected his error of certifying Lisa Holder White's votes in the wrong judicial race (which he'd erroneously claimed was the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which is the court district she'd left way back in December, 2012!).  Instead, the Board correctly assigned her votes to the race for the  Fourth District Appellate Court, which is where she'd been presiding  as an appellate judge since January14, 2013, a period of some 14 months by the time of the March primary!  The Fourth District Apellate Court is also the race that voters actually saw listed on their ballots, and it's the correct race where she's now running for re-election.  [See Note 1 below for further information.  Interestingly enough, recall that Mr. Klein strongly suggested to Sgt. Hulten that his incorrect labeling of this judicial race and other errors should be corrected before the ISBE did their final certification of the results. Sgt. Hulten's defiant response is given below, in Note 2!]

The second correction that the ISBE made in their final report on the Spring, 2014 primary, as I noted in the post just before this one, is that they also correctly deleted the 44 phantom votes for Lynn Foster from  the  Cunningham 17 precinct of Urbana.  These 44 phantom votes supposedly came from a single house with 2 registered voters in it, that happens to be in the tiny sliver of the precinct that lies in the 15th Congressional District.

Now, one might ask, why didn't the ISBE continue on and detect that the State Committeeman races didn't have the same number of processed ballots as the State Committeewoman races had? 
Well, one might have  hoped that the ISBE would have had software that would have detected that  2 totals that mathematically had to be equal to each other -- because of the races being paired together one just below the other on the ballots, as was noted earlier -- did not, in fact, turn out to be equal to each other.  But, of course, the software that accumulates the totals in Champaign County unfortunately doesn't seem to have that feature in it, either.  We're left with the rather gloomy realization that computer systems that we've depended upon for a rather long time now just haven't been designed to detect errors that many of us would have expected them to have been able to catch.

So where should the investigation of this issue proceed from here?  Well, perhaps the only way to get any truthful information out of Sgt. Hulten would be to put him under oath, with a special prosecutor running the investigation and asking the questions, so that he'd be forced  to divulge what strange and unusual things he did to get election results that are mathematically impossible to obtain.  Perhaps with the threat of perjury charges hanging over him, he might finally be willing to open up a bit and start saying where those unobtainable results actually came from.


Note 1:  Below are some articles about Judge Lisa Holder White moving from the 6th Circuit back in December of 2012 to the Fourth District Illinois Appellate Court back in January of 2013:

Decatur judge appointed to area appellate court  [Excerpt]

        Lisa Holder White, the first black person to sit on the Fourth District Illinois Appellate Court, said lessons she learned growing up in Decatur helped her realize her childhood dream of becoming an attorney.

        “My parents came from a modest background, but they instilled in us the importance of education, being honest, hard work and taking pride in a job well done. I’m very thankful to them for that,” White said.

        White, a Decatur resident who most recently served as a judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, was sworn in Monday [1-14-13] as the state’s newest appellate judge.

[See also:]


Note 2:  Here is Sgt. Hulten's defiant response to Mr. Klein on the issue of Hulten's having incorrectly labeled Lisa Holder White's Appellate Court race as a Circuit Court race:
 New accusations of errors in the official results of the March 18 primary election in Champaign County have been leveled by Al Klein, head of the county's Democratic Party.

But County Clerk Gordy Hulten, a Republican, says he is confident in the results and accuses Klein of "playing politics."


In his new allegations, Klein said he found a number of inconsistencies in the reporting of the official election results in uncontested races, both on the Democratic and Republican sides, as well as the labeling of a Republican appellate court justice candidate, Lisa Holder White, as a candidate for circuit court.

In that case, Hulten said he used coding provided by the state Board of Elections.

"When we code now as part of this new software we used for this election, we code the offices with an office ID number. They're indexed in a database that the state Board of Elections provides for us for a particular office," Hulten said.

The other problematic results include an issue in the Cunningham 14 precinct in Urbana (which votes at Clark-Lindsey Village), where the official results state that 243 Democratic votes were cast, but where there were 244 votes in the precinct committeeman race. There was a similar issue in the city of Champaign 34 precinct, where 229 Republican ballots were cast but there were 243 votes in the precinct committeeman contest.

Asked how he would explain the disparity, Hulten said he couldn't "without doing a couple weeks worth of diagnostics on it (but) that is probably the result of merging in the result of the retabulated ballots with the Election Day ballots."

He also said there could be an inconsistency "because sometimes the machines will count things one way and sometimes they'll count them another way."

Still, Hulten said he believed the county's election results were accurate.

"We have counted every ballot that was cast in Champaign County. We did so accurately. We did so using the machines. In some cases, we did so twice," he said. "We're confident in the results. We reported them to the state Board of Elections and they're official.

"I understand that the Democratic Party is going to want to play politics with this. They're going to try to make an issue out of this for a long time, I suspect. But we have reported our official results for Champaign County to the state Board of Elections and they're official and we're confident in them."

Asked if he had confidence in the tabulating machines and software used by the clerk's office, Hulten said, "There were a number of cases where the Democratic Party chairman or a candidate asked us to do a handcount and compare it to a machine count and compare it to the report, and everything matched. Every single time."

[Excerpts for Note 2 are from:]