9,000 Mail-In Ballots Mysteriously Appear in Chicago’s State Attorney Primary Race

The Cook County State’s Attorney primary race in Chicago has been thrown into turmoil after the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE) admitted to “mistakenly” leaving out more than 9,000 mail-in ballots from their initial count. The revelation has significantly tightened the race between tough-on-crime Democrat Eileen O’Neill Burke and her progressive opponent, Clayton Harris III.

On Election Day, O’Neill Burke held a commanding lead of more than 10,000 votes over Harris. However, after the CBOE discovered and counted the 9,143 “forgotten” ballots on Friday and Saturday, her lead has dwindled to just 2,000 votes as of Monday, according to the Associated Press.

CBOE spokesman Max Bever issued a statement acknowledging the error, saying, “In adding up the total number of Vote By Mail ballots the Board had received back so far, I mistakenly left out additional ballots that had been received back via USPS the evening of Mon, 3/18.” Bever claimed he “traded speed for accuracy” in reporting the numbers and expressed regret for the confusion caused to Chicago voters.

The CBOE has stated that attorneys for both candidates were notified of the situation and agreed to continue ballot counting and signature verification on Sunday with poll watchers present. The board has until April 2 to certify the election results.

The contest between O’Neill Burke and Harris has garnered significant attention, as the winner will become the Democrat nominee to replace the outgoing left-wing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. O’Neill Burke has received endorsements from the Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Tribune, while Harris has secured support from the Chicago Teachers Union and Cook County Democrats.

The two candidates have taken differing stances on key issues, such as prosecuting shoplifting as a felony and considering race during sentencing. O’Neill Burke has vowed to restore the $300 threshold for prosecuting shoplifting as a felony, arguing that the current $1,000 threshold set by Foxx “doesn’t deter crime, it promotes it.” In contrast, Harris has said he would maintain the $1,000 threshold and focus on targeting gun traffickers and organized crime.

As the CBOE continues to count votes, with thousands more added to the tally on Saturday and Sunday, the outcome of this closely contested race remains uncertain. The ballot controversy has raised questions about the integrity of the election process and heightened tensions in an already heated campaign.

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