The race for state treasurer remains undecided nearly two weeks after Election Day, with both campaigns agreeing fewer than 400 votes now separate the candidates in what could be the closest statewide race in Illinois in at least a century. The remarkably slim margin seems to point to a recount under an untested law put in place after the previously close-contest champ, the 1982 battle for governor. The match is rife with charges of “voting irregularities and ballot mishandling” in Chicago, prompting Illinois’ Republican U.S. senator call for an investigation Monday. Election officials have until Tuesday to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election, including in the treasurer’s race between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs. Neither side was talking about recounts Monday, saying they’re waiting for all the votes to be counted. “Everyone knew that this was going to be a very close election. Mike’s been coming from behind the whole time,” said Dave Clarkin, spokesman for Frerichs, a state senator from Champaign. “Now we’re all just doing whatever we can to monitor everything closely.”
More than 3.4 million votes were cast, but tens of thousands of ballots hadn’t been counted by Election Day because they were mailed in or cast on a provisional basis, meaning they needed to be checked to make sure voters were eligible. Local election officials will report their final results to the Illinois State Board of Elections, which will meet Nov. 30 to certify election results.
If the current split holds — Cross says he leads by 381 votes, while Frerichs says it’s 331 — the margin would obliterate the record set 32 years ago when two-term GOP Gov. James Thompson defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson III by 5,074 votes, according to an Associated Press analysis of election records since 1900.