Cesar Guerrero took a 9-vote lead in the contest for the third Joliet City Council seat after a large batch of mail-in ballots was counted Wednesday.
With a narrow lead and more votes to be counted, Guerrero was not claiming victory.
“It’s still very close,” Guerrero said at the Will County Office Building where he and campaign volunteers gathered to keep tabs on the ballot count. “There are still a few mail-in ballots coming in. We don’t want to call anything yet. I don’t want to speak prematurely. But I feel better coming out of this than I did coming in.”
Wunderlich had a 55-vote lead at the end of Election Night until the count on Wednesday.
He picked up 162 votes on Wednesday, while Guerrero added 226. Total votes for the two candidates from Joliet precincts in Will and Grundy counties are now at Guerrero, 3,153, and Wunderlich, 3,144.
Wunderlich said the change in the lead “doesn’t surprise me.”
“It’s been close, and he (Guerrero) worked hard,” Wunderlich said.
Like Guerrero, Wunderlich noted there were more votes to be counted.
“Let me quote Yogi Berra: ‘It ain’t over til it’s over,’” he said.
The lead change was another indication that Guerrero was successful in generating mail-in votes.
The first results posted on Election Night showing early voting and mail-in voting put Guerrero in second place in the race. Wunderlich took the lead as in-person Election Day votes were counted.
Guerrero on Wednesday pointed to the early Election Night results, saying he “had a feeling that we would at least close the gap” as more mail-in votes were counted.
“No reason to think that these mail-in votes would be that much different,” he said. “We made a good effort encouraging people to do mail-in voting.”
The trend also could mean Guerrero’s narrow lead widens when the final votes are counted.
The Will County Clerk’s Office conducted the Wednesday count of late arriving mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day because of the large volume of mail-in voting and to provide some clarification to candidates in close races.
More mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day are likely to arrive.
Kendall County is not counting any of the late arriving mail-in votes until April 20.
But the vote totals there for the Joliet race are smaller.
A Kendall County Clekrk’s office employee earlier this week said she did not know how many of the yet unopened mail-in ballots included the Joliet City Council race. But only two of them came from Joliet addresses.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman and Joe Clement were able to declare victory on Election Night for the other two at-large council seats because of the size of their leads.
Adding the ballots counted Wednesday, Quillman now has 3,676 votes and Clement has 3,376.
Source: The Daily Chronicle