Normal Mayoral Candidates To Stay On Pins And Needles For Two Weeks

Apr 5, 2017

Town of Normal Mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli and his wife Tracy at an election night event in Normal.
Credit Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Thirteen mail in ballots for Town of Normal races have already arrived at the McLean County Clerk's office the day after the election out of a total of thirty four remaining requested mail in ballots.

There are another four provisional ballots in the Town of Normal that must be verified for voter registration. Mayor Chris Koos's lead over challenger Marc Tiritilli is only seven votes.

Ken Menzel is the General Counsel for the Illinois State Elections Board. He said County Clerk's can count ballots whenever they come in, but most choose to wait the full two weeks until the deadline to receive valid votes passes.

"You don't want to do that a whole lot more than you have to. It's like do you dust the floor or pick up pieces of lint one at a time?" said Menzel.

He said there is also another reason to wait.

"If you piecemeal them out during the two week period, it's not unusual for you to maybe get maybe only one mailed ballot from a precinct. And then if you update the totals, the voter has lost the secrecy of his ballot," said Menzel.

Menzel said history shows most mail in ballots received after election day reflect the dynamics of the votes already cast and do not change the result on election night, unless one side emphasized mail in turnout as part of the campaign.

County Clerk Kathy Michael said she plans to wait the two week period to make the count public.

Marc Tiritilli has already announced an intention to seek a recount if the result stands.

McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says any call for a partial recount would happen after the canvass of the vote and a winner is formally declared April 25.

"They just come in and review. They pick 25 percent of the 30 precincts. They observe them. They can't touch the ballots. They might want to bring in legal representation," said Michael.

She said they would be looking for evidence of any irregularity to justify ordering a full recount.

"And if they see anything that makes them think they want to pursue a full recount, they decide that and then the whole matter goes to the court system," said Michael.

A discovery recount of six or seven precincts in Normal would not cost much, about ten dollars a precinct. A full recount would run substantially higher because of legal fees. A Judge would also decide who pays for that.
    
Ken Menzel of the Elections Board said modern voting technology has greatly limited the number of discovery recounts and changes in election results.

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