Outstanding ballots casting uncertainty on McHenry County election results

By Kelli Duncan
Shaw Media
Updated 11/4/2020 4:16 PM

McHenry County's election results will not be updated further until Wednesday, Nov. 18, after the state's Nov. 17 deadline for counting ballots, meaning voters will not know the results of many races until then, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said Wednesday.

The county's results for several national, state and local races remain too close to call with about 18,000 mail-in ballots that could still be returned, according to the clerk's office. Provisional ballots have also not been added to the totals.


"There was nothing about this year, this election, that was like anybody expected," Tirio said.

In the days leading up to Election Day, Tirio said he thought the large uptick in early and mail-in voting this year might mean the county would see a higher turnout on Election Day as well. Instead, the fact more people voted early detracted from the number of people who chose to vote on Election Day.

This leaves several races hanging in the balance as election staff continue processing and counting mail-in and provisional ballots over the next two weeks. All mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 are eligible to be counted, Tirio said in an interview last week.

The race for county board chairman has Republican challenger Mike Buehler leading incumbent Democrat Jack Franks by about 9,500 votes, according to Tuesday night's unofficial results which were last updated just after midnight.

In the race to represent county board District 1, in the southeastern corner of the county, Democratic newcomer Theresa Meshes is neck-and-neck with Republican incumbent Yvonne Barnes, with Meshes leading by 37 votes. Republican Tom Wilbeck, also an incumbent, leads both of them by a similarly slim margin of about 1,100 votes.

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As in all of the county board races, the three are jockeying to be one of two candidates picked by voters to represent their district.

In District 2, which runs from Algonquin Road to Crystal Lake Avenue in the north, Democrat Jessica Phillips overtook her two incumbent Republican opponents -- Jeffrey Thorsen and John Reinert -- late Tuesday and leads with 35% of the vote to Thorsen's 34% and Reinert's 31%, according to the unofficial results.

Republican incumbent Joe Gottemoller has a significant lead in the race for District 3, which runs from Cherry Valley Road in the west to the Lake County border, with 37% of the vote. His two opponents -- Democrat Tanya Jindrich and Republican Mike Shorten -- are separated by just half a percentage point with Shorten leading by 188 votes.

In District 5, which covers Dorr Township and the central part of Grafton Township, Republican incumbent Michael Skala leads his three opponents with 30% of the vote. Incumbent Democrat Paula Yensen follows with 27% followed by Republican newcomer Damon Hill with 22% and Democrat Lynn M. Gray with 21%, according to the unofficial results.

In District 6, which spans Chemung and Hebron townships down to Riley and Coral townships, incumbent Republican James Kearns leads with 32% of votes, Von Bergen with 29%, Glissman with 22% and Spaeth with 17%.


Some local McHenry County candidates leading with wider margins, as of the last update to Tuesday's election results, are Republican incumbent Shannon Teresi for McHenry County auditor with 74% of the vote, or a 66,506-vote lead, Republican incumbent Katherine Keefe for circuit clerk with 60% of the vote, or a 29,412-vote lead, and Republican coroner candidate Michael Rein with 71%, or a 56,835-vote lead.

Kane County's clerk plans to update the results there daily until they're finalized Nov. 17, he told the Kane County Chronicle.

Also, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the last day a provisional voter can submit information to local election officials in order to have their ballot count is Nov. 10.

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