Could a write-in candidate unseat a Des Plaines alderman?

  • Des Plaines 1st Ward aldermanic candidate Gloria Ludwig and Alderman Mark Lysakowski.

    Des Plaines 1st Ward aldermanic candidate Gloria Ludwig and Alderman Mark Lysakowski.

Updated 4/8/2021 11:59 AM

Des Plaines Alderman Mark Lysakowski got 351 votes on Election Day and was the only candidate on the ballot -- but he may not retain his 1st Ward seat.

That's because the number of votes for write-in candidate Gloria Ludwig hasn't been determined yet. If every 1st Ward resident who pulled a ballot but didn't vote for Lysakowski voted for Ludwig, he'd be ahead by only 12 votes.


That hypothetical lead could narrow or disappear if Ludwig got enough people who voted by mail ahead of Election Day to support her instead of Lysakowski.

The winner may not be known until after April 20, the deadline for mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day to arrive at the Cook County clerk's office, said Edmund Michalowski, the deputy clerk of elections.

Ludwig said she sees victory as "a very real possibility."

"I feel optimistic," said Ludwig, who served as city clerk from 2009 to 2017. "I know that there are people ... who voted for me and mailed the ballot in."

Lysakowski, who was elected in 2017 and is seeking a second term, hasn't responded to repeated interview requests.

Election judges with the Cook County clerk's office will examine images of all the ballots cast in the race to determine how many legitimate write-in votes Ludwig received, Michalowski said.

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That process started this week, with teams reviewing ballots cast early and on Election Day, Michalowsi said. Mailed ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be examined as they arrive.

Ludwig described herself as "a very patient person," and she said she's urged her supporters to try to be as well.

"It will be what it will be," she said.

Ludwig has said Lysakowski's January arrest on a driving under the influence charge in Mount Prospect inspired her to run.

Accompanied by a lawyer, Lysakowski virtually attended a brief court hearing in that case Thursday. The next hearing date was set for June 14.

Three other aldermanic races were on the ballot in Des Plaines.

Political newcomer Sean Oskerka won the four-way race for the 3rd Ward seat, unofficial results showed; incumbent Carla Brookman won reelection in the 5th Ward; and newcomer Patricia L. Smith won in the 7th Ward.

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