Human error slowed vote tabulation in DuPage County

If you waited for the unofficial election results from all of DuPage County's precincts on Tuesday, you had a very long night.

The DuPage County Election Commission didn't post totals from 100 percent of the precincts until the wee hours of Wednesday morning - more than six hours after the polls closed. That's because officials say they weren't able to get results from three precincts until after 1 a.m.

Robert Saar, the commission's executive director, attributed the problem to human error.

After the polls closed, he said, some election judges failed to turn in memory cards containing information from voting machines that needed to be uploaded into the central database.

"They pulled into the parking lot (at the commission's main office in Wheaton) and they forgot the memory cards," Saar said.

So the bipartisan election judges had to go back to the polling place with sheriff's deputies and retrieve the missing cards.

While he called the situation "aggravating," Saar said the outcomes of most of the races in DuPage were known by 10:30 p.m.

"I didn't receive one single phone call last night about the results," he said.

Nearly 50 percent of the more than 572,000 registered voters in DuPage cast ballots during the primary, including roughly 38,600 who took advantage of early voting or voted by mail.

Saar, however, said the large voter turnout had no impact on how long it took to tabulate the results.

While it takes time to have election judges drive from locations throughout the county to hand-deliver memory cards to the commission office in Wheaton, officials say they have no plans to remotely transmit results from polling places.

They say they don't connect the commission's tabulation computer to any data lines to prevent possible data corruption and hacking.

"It's not hooked up to the Internet," Saar said. "It's not on the network. It's a stand-alone, high-quality server."

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