Some local city council races remain too close to call

Area voters head to polls for Illinois municipal races

Southern Illinois voters turnout for municipal elections including mayor, local school boards, city councils, village boards, and park districts among other things.
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Southern Illinois voters turnout for municipal elections including mayor, local school boards, city councils, village boards, and park districts among other things.

In Fairview Heights, a City Council candidate had a four-vote lead after votes were counted in Tuesday’s election, and in Belleville’s Ward 6 race there was a seven-vote difference between two candidates who may not know whether they won or lost for two more weeks when outstanding mail-in votes are counted.

Results in these super-close races possibly could change on April 16 when the mail-in votes received after Election Day are counted, according to St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook.

These are ballots that arrive by mail after Election Day that have been postmarked by April 2. However, if a mailed-in ballot arrives via the U.S. Postal Service without a postmark, it is still considered valid, Holbrook said Wednesday.

Residents can request a mail-in ballot and in races across the county, there are ballots that were not returned by Tuesday and county clerks are required to wait 14 days before releasing a final tally of votes.

“In these cases, some of these are going to come in. I can tell you that,” Holbrook said. “It’s just a matter of how many in each of these races. We don’t know if it’s going to be two, five, 10 or 20.

“Normally we get about half what’s out in.”

Provisional ballots and ballots not yet received from military personnel also will be counted at 10 a.m. on April 16.

After the counting is completed on April 16, these final vote totals are sent to the state and the counts will be certified on April 23. If a candidate wants a recount, the request must be made within five days after the results are certified.

Close votes

Belleville Ward 6 Alderman Andy Gaa was leading challenger Chris Rothweiler by seven votes, 306-299.

In this race, there are 29 vote-by-mail ballots that had been requested but not yet returned, Holbrook said. Rothweiler had said Tuesday night that 37 ballots had not been mailed back in Ward 6. However, that actually was the number of ballots not returned in Belleville’s Ward 2 race.

Rothweiler said he wants to wait until all the votes are tabulated on April 16.

Mayor Mark Eckert, who endorsed Gaa in the race, said he was “cautiously optimistic” that Gaa would retain his lead on April 16.

“My opponent has not conceded. I am looking forward to the final results and serving the constituents of Ward 6 for the next 4 years,” Gaa wrote on Facebook.

Rothweiler received support from a political action committee that received $15,600 from St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and his mother. Kern is the former mayor of Belleville who appointed Eckert to the post after winning the County Board position in 2004.

Rothweiler wrote on Facebook, “I will not concede until every vote is counted. That’s what America is about. I have spoken with my opponent and he has been very gracious and I appreciate it.”

In the Ward 2 race, Carmen Duco, with 129 votes, had a 19-vote lead over Randy Randolph who had 110 votes. Mathematically it’s possible for this result to change since 37 ballots had not been returned but Holbrook noted that it is not likely.

Anthony J. LeFlore, the challenger in the Fairview Heights City Council Ward 2 race, had 159 votes and the incumbent, Roger D. Lowry, had 155 votes after all six precincts were counted, according to unofficial results posted by St. Clair County on Tuesday.

In this ward, there were 16 mail-in ballots that were requested but not yet returned, Holbrook said.

Gwendolyn Randolph, the incumbent in the O’Fallon City Council Ward 5 race, had a seven-vote lead of 71-64 over Chris Hursey but Holbrook said only three mail-in ballots were outstanding in this race so Hursey would not be able to overcome Randolph.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.