With Around 110K Outstanding Democratic Vote-By-Mail Ballots in Cook County, Race for State’s Attorney Remains Close

Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are running for the Democratic nomination in the race for Cook County state’s attorney. (Photos provided)Eileen O’Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are running for the Democratic nomination in the race for Cook County state’s attorney. (Photos provided)

There are about 110,000 outstanding Democratic vote-by-mail ballots in Chicago and suburban Cook County, according to latest numbers from election officials, as the Democratic race between retired judge Eileen O’Neill Burke and former prosecutor Clayton Harris for Cook County state’s attorney remains too close to call.

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O'Neill Burke continues to hold a slight 51-49% edge over Harris, with about 8,000 votes separating them, according to the latest unofficial vote totals from the Associated Press at 5:24 p.m. Thursday, with 86% of votes counted.

There are about 77,000 outstanding Democratic vote-by-mail ballots in Chicago, according to city election data from Thursday evening. Not all ballots are expected to be returned, city officials said, adding that they typically see between 80-85% of all vote-by-mail ballots submitted.

There are also about 25,000 vote-by-mail ballots recieved in Chicago since Election Day that have yet to be counted, but will start being counted Friday, according to Max Bever, director of public information at the Chicago Board of Elections.

In suburban Cook County, there are 33,000 outstanding Democratic vote-by-mail ballots, Edmund Michalowski, deputy clerk of elections at the Cook County Clerk’s Office, said during a Thursday news conference.

Vote-by-mail ballots need to have been dropped off or postmarked by Tuesday and received by April 2 to count.

Poll watchers from the campaigns of both O’Neill Burke and Harris requested to review the processing and counting of vote-by-mail ballots received on Election Day and through the counting period ending April 2, according to a Chicago Board of Elections statement.

The board is accommodating the request, and the public won’t see updated unofficial election results until Friday evening.

There wasn’t a similar request for suburban Cook County, Michalowski said, but attorneys for both campaigns have been in touch with legal counsel with the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

“They feel very much assured that we’re walking through the necessary steps,” Michalowski said, “and neither candidate has requested that poll watchers go to the mail ballot center at this point, that I’m aware of.”

The Cook County Clerk’s Office manages elections in suburban Cook County, while the Chicago Board of Elections is in charge of elections in the city.

The state’s attorney race was among the most contentious in Tuesday’s primary election, as incumbent Kim Foxx opted against running for a third term. Neither O’Neill Burke nor Harris declared victory Tuesday.

Local election officials say they expect to have a clearer picture of election results this weekend through next week.

Matt Masterson contributed to this report.

Contact Eunice Alpasan: @eunicealpasan | 773-509-5362 | [email protected]

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