Final numbers due in GOP gov race

February 16, 2010 5:37:38 PM PST
The final provisional and absentee ballots were being counted Tuesday as the outcome of the Republican race for governor remained undecided. A little more than 400 votes separated the two leading candidates.

State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington has been holding a very slim lead since the primary. State Senator Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale is hoping he will overcome that margin once the ballots have been counted.

The law says all of the provisional and absentee ballots need to be counted in each county by the end of the day. Every vote counts in the tight race for governor on the Republican side, where there is no clear winner.

One will face off against incumbent Democratic nominee Pat Quinn in November.

At the Chicago Board of Elections, the last 216 absentee ballots arrived just after noon on Tuesday to be counted and added to the city's 2010 primary election vote. When the counting of 27 Republican ballots ended, gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard had closed his 400 vote deficit to Bill Brady by two votes.

"Today will be the final vote count by the local election authorities but on February 23rd they submit those totals to the state Board of Elections and that is really the total I want to see," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard.

One hundred ten election authorities throughout Illinois received and counted their final absentee ballots Tuesday. Frontrunner Brady does not expect any surprises.

"As the results are coming in and they're actually counting the provisionals and absentees, what we're find is thatwe're either doing better or as well as we expected to do. So we're confident that our margin will hold up today," said State Sen. Bill Brady.

In heavily-Republican DuPage County, favorite son Dillard of Hinsdale had a net gain of 46 votes. Republican insiders said privately he needed to have done much better to close a 400 vote deficit. In Lake County, Dillard had a net gain of 24 votes.

Election officials said with the new technology used at Illinois primary polling places there is little chance that mistakes could help Dillard make up the difference.

"One good thing about the new equipment that election officials have all over the country is that they tend to be more accurate," said Cook County Clerk David Orr.

By law, the state Board of Elections must certify elections result by February 23. Losing candidates within 5 percent have until March 5 to file for a discovery recount.

Senator Dillard--who at the beginning of the day trailed by a very small margin--says he'll consider the recount question if he must after February 23.

"The minuest error by one of the 110 local election authorities can change the outcome of the race," said Dillard.

Dillard said that generally speaking he is not a fan of recounts which are expensive to all the campaigns that might be involved.

Otherwise, Dillard and Brady remain cordial colleagues. They see and speak to each other daily when the Illinois Senate is in session as it was Tuesday.