Cook County state’s attorney race tightens as vote count continues

Nearly one week after the Democratic primary for Cook County state’s attorney, former appellate court Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke’s lead over former prosecutor Clayton Harris III has narrowed to a little more than 2,000 votes.

With 99% of votes counted Monday, The Associated Press reports Burke has 259,445 votes, about 50.2% of the total, to Harris’ 257,430 or 49.8%.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Bob Fioretti and Libertarian candidate Andrew Charles Kopinski in the Nov. 5 general election. The winner will replace Kim Foxx, who announced last year she would not seek a third term as the county’s top prosecutor.

Late Sunday, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections Commission stated in an email that there are 54,191 outstanding vote-by-mail ballots unreturned or unrejected.

“We do not expect all of these to return back to the board properly postmarked by the April 2 deadline,” said the spokesman, who also announced over the weekend that he had “mistakenly left out additional ballots that had been received back via USPS the evening of Monday, March 18.”

“I traded speed for accuracy in reporting out numbers this week as quickly as I could,” Max Bever said in a prepared statement. “I truly regret this error on my part and for the confusion that it has caused the voters of Chicago.”

Edmund Michalowski, Cook County deputy clerk for elections, said last week that the clerk’s office had established a process with a series of checks and balances to process mail in ballots, which 150 bipartisan election judges continue to count daily.

“Nothing is as important as ensuring that voters have confidence in the system,” he said during a news conference.

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