CHICAGO (CBS) -- A week after Election Day, the race for Illinois State Treasurer is growing extremely tight, with the two leading candidates separated by just a few hundred votes.
According to published reports, Republican candidate Tom Cross had a lead of 400 to 500 votes over Democrat Mike Frerichs, out of nearly 3.5 million votes counted – or an edge of approximately 0.01 percent.
Now, charges of vote fraud have started to fly. Cross campaign manager Kevin Artl said a canvass of 8,000 votes in suburban Cook County found more than 200 people who voted early, and also cast a provisional ballot on Election Day.
"In a cursory view of 8,000 voters in Cook County, finding a few hundred who cast ballots multiple times is certainly alarming," he said.
Artl said, in such a tight race, they need to know if any of those extra provisional votes counted.
"It should be alarming to everyone. We pride ourselves on 'one person one vote,' the fairness of law and rule, and when you have people casting multiple votes, it dilutes the vote of everyone else," he said. "We are working hard right now to take a closer look at all the provisionals – go through them one-by-one – and determine, at least on the provisional level, did they vote twice; and if they did vote twice, we are requesting that they be segregated from the rest of the ballots that are being counted."
Cook County Clerk David Orr's office issued a statement calling the Cross campaign's accusations baseless, as any provisional votes have not yet been verified and counted.
"It is irresponsible to make allegations about voter fraud without notifying the election authority or providing specifics. Unfortunately, we learned about this allegation from a press release – even though we have worked closely with both campaigns since Nov. 5 as they observed every step in our transparent vote-counting process," Orr said. "The premise that any safeguards have been breached is unfounded, at minimum. Perhaps the Cross campaign is confused by the provisional ballot verification process, during which we check one-by-one if an in-precinct voter cast a ballot by mail or during early voting. While we research provisional voters, their ballots have yet to be counted."
The Frerichs campaign declined comment.
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