Clerk's office configures ballots in house

May 20, 2003
Press Release

New technology used to design and layout ballot books in the April 1 suburban elections saved the county more than $1 million, said Cook County Clerk David Orr who plans on employing the new system in future elections.

The In-House Ballot Layout (IBL) System, implemented for the first time by Clerk’s office staff, produced each of the nearly 800 different ballot book formats accurately and met every scheduled deadline.

"The success of our ballot layout system clearly demonstrates how new technology can be developed and used to save taxpayer dollars," Orr said.

Because the Clerk’s office and Chicago Board of Elections are no longer dependent on an outside vendor to configure their ballot books, the election authorities will realize approximately $1 million in savings every year.

The task of creating ballot books in Cook County presents many challenges because of the numerous layers of government and the large number of voting districts that overlap, resulting in multiple ballot formats.

In the April 1 election, there were 795 ballot formats with 2,308 candidates, 740 contests and 76 referendums in suburban Cook County alone. Given the complexity of odd-year local elections – the most challenging for the Clerk’s office – Orr is confident the IBL System is equipped to handle future elections.

The IBL System extracts information from database tables and feeds it into a sophisticated typesetting program that creates individual ballot formats for each of the 1.3 million voters in suburban Cook County.