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Orr says election will be smoother

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

The April 17 election will run much smoother than November's election even though officials have to track far more candidates across many more races, Cook County Clerk David Orr said Monday. "I don't think people understand the complexity of these elections," Orr said, standing in front of walls covered floor-to-ceiling with examples of the 769 different kinds of ballots his office is producing for the municipal races. About 2,400 candidates are running across the county. "It's an incredible number," Orr said. "When I tell this to colleagues across the country, they fall over." But despite that, Orr is more confident about this election than last, because his office has put in so much work on making the process go smoother. "We do believe, from fairly elaborate testing that we've done ... (the machines) will perform better," Orr said. The last two county elections saw Orr's office struggle with tallying the votes on election night. Though no problems with accuracy were discovered, the system for transmitting and counting the votes from the polling places broke down, and results for some elections weren't available until the next day. Orr said the county has completed a six-point improvement plan that implemented suggestions from a technical review panel about how to speed up the process. But he cautioned voters and the media that municipal elections often come down to a few votes, so it may be impossible to call some races until late. "We don't want to overdo the speed issue," Orr said. "The November election worked well for the voters." For voters unsure who is running or how to use the equipment, Orr invited them to check out his Web site,, which now includes a short video about using the new optical scan and touch-screen voting technology.

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