When will we know the election results for DeKalb County?

By Ashley Dwy

Election Day is here, and many voters may be anxious to hear the results. To make sure everyone’s vote is counted, counting the ballots takes time. 

In DeKalb, there is a specific process that goes into counting the ballots that starts as soon as the polls close.

When the polls close

The polls in Illinois close at 7 p.m. After they close, the election judges pack up their respective polling place and head over to the Sycamore Legislative Center, 200 N. Main St., Sycamore, where tally judges are set up. 

Election judges facilitate the voting experience on Election Day by opening and closing the polling place, providing assistance to voters, distributing ballots and more.

Tally judges, on the other hand, count the ballots and look over the election judges’ documents to be sure everything is in place and no mistakes were made.

Because of social distancing rules, there are four tables of eight tally judges this year, rather than the six tables of 12 tally judges that there were in previous years, DeKalb County Clerk Douglas Johnson said.

“The results might be slower for this election because we reduced the amount of people involved,” Johnson said. 

When the ballots are counted

The tally judges have the job of going through the election judges’ documents and double-checking everything is in order, Johnson said. 

After that is done, there is a machine in the county clerk’s office to count the number of ballots electronically, Johnson said.

“The results go online around 7:30 p.m. initially and are finished by 9:30 p.m.,” Johnson said.

Waiting for the final results

Illinois law requires a wait period of two weeks before certifying the election to allow for any mail-in ballots that come in after Election Day. 

The mail-in ballots have to be marked by the post office on or before Election Day, so it is counted as on-time.

“We wait the full two weeks so everyone has the opportunity to get their vote in,” Johnson said.

The final results will be certified Nov. 17. Until then, the unofficial results will be posted by 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The unofficial results are public records, so anyone will be able to view them. 

Although election results can be stressful, it is important to remember that every vote matters, so it takes some time to count each and every one.