Fraud allegations emerge in tight Treasurer's vote count

Monday, November 10, 2014
Fraud allegations emerge in tight Treasurer's vote count
New allegations have come to light Monday afternoon surrounding the vote count in the Illinois Treasurer's race.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- New allegations have emerged Monday afternoon surrounding the vote count in the Illinois Treasurer's race.

With reports indicating only a few hundred votes now separate the major party candidates, the Republican's campaign alleges some voters in suburban Cook County cast ballots more than once.

It's a dramatic turnaround from what the candidate thought was happening on election night.

"We are pleased with the result tonight," State Rep. Tom Cross said on Nov. 4.

After the initial count election night, Cross led State Senator Mike Frerichs by 22 thousand votes out of more than 3.4 million cast, a percentage difference of less than one percent.

But as mailed-in ballots were counted over the weekend, the Cross lead narrowed, reportedly to fewer than 700 votes statewide as absentee ballots cast in suburban Cook County and the city of Chicago overwhelmingly favored Democrat Frerichs.

Monday afternoon, Frerichs is leading in suburban Cook County by over 70,000 votes and by over 350,000 ballots in the city of Chicago.

A cross spokesman told ABC7 Eyewitness News that the campaign already has identified cases of voting irregularities in the Cook County suburbs.

"In just a small subset of voters in Cook County we found that hundreds had cast multiple votes, voting on election day but also through mail and early voting," said Kevin Artl, Tom Cross campaign manager.

Still to be counted statewide are so-called provisional ballots that this year include voters who took advantage of Illinois' new same-day voter registration.

An estimated 9,000 provisional ballots remain uncounted in suburban Cook County and 10,000 provisional ballots in the city.

Cross supporter U.S. Senator Mark Kirk shares a concern about how the vote in the Treasurer's race is counted.

"Let's hope we have full integrity that all votes that were validly cast be counted," Kirk said.

Late Monday afternoon, Cook County Clerk David Orr issued a statement saying that "the premise that any safeguards have been breached is unfounded," and calling the allegation of voter fraud "irresponsible" inasmuch as the charge did not includes specifics.

The vast majority of those provisional ballots throughout the state will be counted later this week. The election results will not be certified until next month after which formal challenges might be filed.