Democratic Cook County state's attorney race remains tight as vote tallying continues

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Cook Co. state's attorney race remains tight; vote tallying continues
Cook County state's attorney election results show a tightening race between Democratic candidates Clayton Harris III and Eileen O'Neill Burke.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After another round of mail-in ballot counting, the Democratic race for Cook County state's attorney still remains too close to call.

As the city of Chicago recorded another 2,746 ballots and Cook County logged another 3,500 on Monday, Eileen O'Neill Burke still leads Clayton Harris III. But her lead but it has now further shrunk down to fewer than 1,700 votes.

"That's a very small number. That could change very quickly, and where the votes are coming from makes a big difference," said Better Government Association President David Greising.

It has now been six days since the polls closed on Election Day, and the state's attorney race is still a toss-up.

The number of mail-in ballots that had to be post marked by last Tuesday is shrinking every day, but the wait for a winner continues.

We now have a little more clarity in the race between O'Neil Burke and Harris, but the outcome of this critical primary could take another week to sort out with next Tuesday being the final deadline for all votes to be counted.

"This race remains close, and it will remain close through this counting period. But ultimately, we do urge patience as we get through counting all the rest of the votes through April 2," said Chicago Board of Elections Spokesman Max Bever. "When we have a low turnout, especially on Election Day, a lot more attention has to go to those vote-by-mail ballots."

The city is expecting the remaining mail-in ballots that had to be postmarked by Election Day to dwindle to just a trickle in the coming days.

There are approximately 2,000 provisional ballots that still have to be counted. Those are ones where people went to the wrong precinct on Election Day. They each have to be hand checked by election judges.

"Ultimately, for a close election, it really does come down to every vote matters," Bever said.

Both sides have been continuing to evaluate the results, but neither have claimed victory or conceded defeat while there are still outstanding ballots to be tabulated.

This delay is now going on a week since the election, just part of the process with the popularity of vote by mail.

"If you're going to try to increase the vote, this is part of the cost that you pay instead of getting elections Tuesday night. You have to wait a few days. It's probably worth that trade, so long as the votes are counted in a verifiable manner," Greising said.

Both campaigns have poll watchers and attorneys in the room overseeing the process in-person.

What this comes down to is of the remaining ballots, can Harris get a high enough percentage of them to overcome the vote deficit? And then, will we have a recount?