Kim not ready to quit in Mundelein's close mayoral race

Editor's note: This story was updated to include corrected information about when a provisional ballot may be issued.

Mundelein mayoral candidate Holly Kim isn't ready to throw in the towel.

Down by 13 votes in her bid to unseat Mayor Steve Lentz, Kim - a village trustee finishing her first term - said she's waiting to see if mailed ballots that were postmarked by Election Day but arrive late can push her over the top.

She also wants to see if any provisional ballots make a difference.

"My supporters would expect nothing less," Kim said Wednesday.

Lentz said Kim's decision to wait until all possible votes are counted before declaring the race over "totally makes sense."

Meanwhile, he's proceeding as if he won re-election to a second term.

"We have several projects and initiatives in the works, and it's in everyone's interest that we don't miss a beat," Lentz said Wednesday.

The Lake County clerk's office has 14 days after an election to determine if a provisional ballot should be counted. Eligible ballots are counted on the 14th day, according to the clerk's office.

That would be April 18 in this case. The official canvass of the results, which determines the final vote count, occurs the next day.

A provisional ballot can be issues to a voter in different situations, such as whenb a voter wants to register or update registration on Election Day but doesn't have proper identification, Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff said.

A provisional ballot may also be issued to someone who requested a vote-by-mail ballot but decided to vote at a polling place and left the vote-by-mail ballot at home.

Wyckoff didn't know how many provisional ballots were used Tuesday in Mundelein.

Late-arriving-by-mail ballots that are deemed legitimate also are counted 14 days after Election Day.

"As long as it has a postmark on Election Day, we have 14 days (to receive it)," Wyckoff said.

Ninety-six of the vote-by-mail ballots that were sent to Mundelein residents still haven't been returned, Wyckoff said. Whether any do - and whether any are counted - remains to be seen.

Wyckoff believes late-arriving and provisional ballots could make a difference in the mayor's race because of the tight margin.

Lentz was leading Kim 2,235 votes to 2,222 votes as of Wednesday, unofficial results show.

A third candidate, Ray Ladewig, finished with 391 votes.

That count means Lentz and Kim each have about 46 percent of the vote. Ladewig has about 8 percent.

Kim led in nine of Mundelein's 22 precincts, according to data on the county clerk's website. Lentz led in eight of the village's precincts. They were tied in the five remaining precincts, including four in which no votes were recorded.

Ladewig didn't figure prominently in any of the precincts.

Voter turnout in Lake County was less than 16 percent. The 13-vote difference in the mayor's race shows every vote counts, Wyckoff said.

"It's discouraging to me to see how few votes decide some important races that have a direct impact on people's lives," she said.

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