Just one vote separates 51st District House candidates Miller Walsh and Edly-Allen
Provisional and late-arriving mail ballots could decide the House District 51 election involving Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh and her Democratic opponent, Mary Edly-Allen, who were separated Wednesday by just one vote.
Unofficial results from Tuesday's election in Lake and Cook counties show Miller Walsh topped Edly-Allen by 25,106 votes to 25,105. Miller Walsh had a strong lead until Lake County counted early and mail ballots, which favored Edly-Allen.
Now, the candidates will wait for possible provisional and late-arriving mail ballots to be tabulated. State law says results are not final until 14 days after Election Day.
Edly-Allen, a teacher from Libertyville, challenged Miller Walsh for the seat representing all or portions of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.
Miller Walsh, a Mundelein-area resident, was appointed in August to replace Republican state Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington, who resigned amid accusations he posted naked photographs of an ex-girlfriend over social media without her knowledge. Sauer's term expires in January.
Election officials in Lake and Cook counties will log potential late-arriving ballots postmarked before Tuesday. Provisional ballots from voters whose eligibility was in question must be found valid and then counted within 14 days.
James Scalzitti, a spokesman for Cook County Clerk David Orr's office, said a losing candidate whose vote total is equal to at least 95 percent of a winning candidate's votes has the statutory right to a discovery recount, which cannot change the result. The discovery recount -- a way for a candidate to gather information about an election -- involves a sampling of ballots and can occur after votes are certified by Nov. 30.
A candidate must file a lawsuit in circuit court to contest the proclaimed results of an election, according to state law.
Edly-Allen and Miller Walsh disagreed on several issues. For example, Miller Walsh, who is married to former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, said she favors allowing well-trained teachers to be armed in classrooms to protect students, while Edly-Allen was against it.
Neither Edly-Allen nor Miller Walsh returned messages seeking comment Wednesday.