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Ballots left off Election Day totals in McHenry

WOODSTOCK (AP) – Vote counters in a northern Illinois county failed to include early voting numbers in Election Day results, officials said Thursday.

The updated results means 14th Congressional District candidate Lauren Underwood, a Democrat, carried McHenry County over incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren.

On election night, it appeared McHenry was the only county in the district that went to the Republican Hultgren. Underwood won McHenry County by 169 votes in the updated, yet still unofficial results.

The numbers also show McHenry County Board District 5 Democratic candidate Carlos Acosta, who was initially believed to have lost, defeated incumbent Republican Michael Rein.

“I was speechless. Dumbfounded. It’s just amazing. I didn’t expect to win this way, so it’s still kind of sinking in,” said Acosta, of Woodstock. “I appreciate that (Clerk Mary McClellan) did her due diligence in rectifying the problem.”

The county’s vote totals were underreported by nearly 20 percent because of a software “glitch,” McClellan said.

Initially, McClellan said it was common for voters to leave some races blank. However, vote totals in neighboring counties showed only about 1 to 2 percent of voters skipping the statewide races.

In a statement Thursday, McHenry County officials said it took until Wednesday evening to notice an “anomaly” in the posted results in which a number of races had a “significant undervote.”

County Board Chairman Jack Franks said it appeared about 24,000 votes were affected by the undercount.

Illinois Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the agency contacted McClellan’s office and was satisfied with the explanation given for the error.

He said that because the problem was solved before the results were certified, there won’t be any further investigation by the state board.

About 2,000 ballots remain outstanding in the county, according to McClellan.

She said there is 2 weeks until the deadline for her office to accept vote-by-mail ballots.

Those ballots will be accepted only if they are postmarked Nov. 6 or earlier.

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