Mar 25, 2024 - Politics

Ballot count continues for Cook County state's attorney Democrat primary

Illustration of the number 2024 appearing in the center of graphic shapes colored blue, red, and purple, as well as graphics found on ballots, like arrows and patterned lines.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A winner has yet to be called exactly one week after the Democrat primary for Cook County state's attorney.

Why it matters: The race has been one of the most watched in the state this election, pitting business-backed Eileen O'Neill Burke against Clayton Harris III, the Cook County Democratic Party's pick. A win for Burke would be seen as a rebuke against outgoing state's attorney Kim Foxx.

By the numbers: Burke, a former judge, remains in the lead over former prosecutor Harris, but by roughly 1,700 votes, per the latest Chicago and Cook County election data.

  • About 53,000 outstanding mail-in ballots have yet to be counted, as of Monday night. Elections officials don't expect all of them to be returned and properly postmarked by the April 2 deadline.

Catch up quick: Burke's lead has narrowed since more mail-in ballots were counted over the weekend.

  • Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson Max Bever announced Sunday that he had miscommunicated the number of mail-in ballots received before last Tuesday's election, omitting nearly 10,000. Those additional ballots boosted totals for Harris.

Between the lines: Both campaigns have said poll watchers are monitoring the count at the Board of Elections, but spokespeople for O'Neill Burke and Harris said there was no nefarious activity at play.

Zoom in: O'Neill Burke's biggest donors include Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman and executives from Citadel. She also has the backing of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which says her pledge to prosecute retail theft more vigilantly will help struggling businesses.

What's next: The Chicago Board of Elections will continue to count mail-in ballots until the April 2 deadline, WBEZ reported.

  • The winner will face Republican Bob Fioretti and Libertarian candidate Andrew Charles Kopinski in the November general election.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to further clarify what progress is being made in counting mail-in ballots.

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