Just one vote separates 51st District House candidates Miller Walsh and Edly-Allen

  • Democrat Mary Edly-Allen, left, trails Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh by one vote in the 51st House District election. The district includes all or portions of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.

    Democrat Mary Edly-Allen, left, trails Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh by one vote in the 51st House District election. The district includes all or portions of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.

 
 

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.

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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.

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