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Smooth sailing for Cook County this election

Thursday, April 19, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

After convening an independent panel in January to review the voting process, Cook County Clerk David Orr was able to tally 95.5 percent of the vote by 11 p.m. Tuesday — a far cry from November when just 49 percent of the vote was counted at that hour.
Orr credited a technical revamp of electronic “card activators” in voting equipment with the vast improvement.
“In November, the card activators failed,” said Orr, noting that about half of the precinct machines failed to transmit during that election.
Additionally, the county also improved the readouts on electronic vote machines at precincts and increased the number of times those machines would try to transmit results if first tries were unsuccessful.
The county also installed land-line transmission systems at backup transmission sites, a more reliable system than cellular transmission backups that were in place in November.
“We left no stone unturned,” said Orr.
Orr acknowledged that, largely because of “human error,” a small number of precincts remained uncounted because the votes had not been transmitted to his office Tuesday evening. However, by early Wednesday, the clerk’s office had tallied 99.9 percent of the county’s 2,370 precincts, with the Web site reflecting those results by 2 p.m.
Clerk’s officials cautioned that even where 100 percent of precincts were counted, the vote was not over. A few absentee ballots postmarked by April 16 that are still arriving have yet to be tallied. Also, the validity of a handful of “provisional” votes — where people who did not appear to be registered were allowed to cast a temporary ballot — remains to be determined.

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