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Cook County Judicial Candidate Says Vote Totals Changed After Deadline To Make Him Lose, Claims Fraud

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Claims of election fraud were in the headlines Tuesday, but not from the White House this time.

One man who ran for judge in Cook County claims thousands of ballots mysteriously materialized after the Nov. 17 deadline to count them, and it cost him the race.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the Cook County Clerk's own website indicated there were no ballots left to count and that candidate, Frank DiFranco was the winner – until he wasn't.

DiFranco, who ran as a Republican, said his campaign got ballot and vote totals directly from the Cook County Clerk's office. They tracked the totals daily.

But red flags went way up when the numbers didn't add up.

"It doesn't make sense," said DiFranco, an attorney.

DiFranco says something smells in the County of Cook. He ran for judge of the 12th Subcircuit, and he said on Monday, Nov. 16 – the day before the vote-counting deadline – he was winning the race.

According to Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough's website, DiFranco was also winning on Tuesday, Nov. 17 – deadline day. Then somehow, the day after no more votes should be counted, the race flipped – and DiFranco lost by 502 votes.

"Obviously, something's wrong," DiFranco said. "Obviously, there is some type of fraud involved."

DiFranco also points to the ballot status page on the Cook County Clerk's website to back up his incriminating allegations. As of Saturday, Nov. 14, the website states the number of ballots left to be counted was zero.

Ina Bochian was an election judge counting ballots at a Cicero site, and she backs up DiFranco's claim.

"We had nothing left to count," Bochian said. "Half of us went home on the 13th because we were told that there were no votes left to count."

DiFranco said his campaign also had a poll watcher in Cicero who claims the same.

"What we need to know is, you added these votes on November 18th," he said. "Where did they come from?"

DiFranco and his lawyer even went to court, asking for injunctive relief to, among other things, delay the race's certification. A judge denied the motion, telling DiFranco to contest the election through normal channels.

Hours later, Cook County election officials certified the results with the state, and said no ballots received after Nov. 17 were counted.

DiFranco said numbers from the clerk also raise concerns about thousands of unaccounted-for ballots that were added into the totals after Nov. 17.

However, Cook County Clerk's office spokeswoman Sally Daly said, while DiFranco's campaign has a right to contest the election results, she said no ballots received after Nov. 17 were counted.

"We continued to process and reconcile provisional ballots leading up to [Tuesday's] certification -- as did the Chicago Board of Elections and other election authorities," Daly said in a statement.

"A Cook County Judge yesterday denied the DiFranco campaign a temporary restraining order and dismissed any and all allegations of fraud in this race. There were no ballots counted that were not received by November 17, pursuant to statute. Following an appropriate canvass counting every eligible vote, Cook County filed documents certifying the Election to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020," Daly added.

As to his options now, DiFranco said he plans to appeal the judge's ruling in hopes of preserving any questionable ballots. He is also weighing his options for a recount.

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