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Tough-On-Crime Democrat’s Lead Shrinks After Chicago Officials ‘Mistakenly’ Forgot 9,000 Mail Ballots

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A tough-on-crime Democrat was leading her progressive opponent by more than 10,000 votes on Election Day in the Democrat primary election for the second-largest prosecutor’s office in the nation. But the former judge is now leading by only about 2,000 votes after the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE) “mistakenly left out” more than 9,000 mail-in ballots in their count of ballots received by Election Day.

“Approximately 9,143 Vote By Mail additional ballots” that were allegedly not included in the original tally were counted on Friday and Saturday, helping to tighten the Cook County State’s Attorney primary race. Eileen O’Neill Burke was leading Clayton Harris III by less than 5,000 votes on Saturday, and that lead had shrunk to roughly 2,000 votes by Monday, according to the Associated Press. O’Neill Burke initially had a roughly 10,000 vote lead on Election Day, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“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,” a statement from CBOE spokesman Max Bever said.

“I traded speed for accuracy in reporting out numbers this week as quickly as I could,” Bever continued. “I truly regret this error on my part and for the confusion that it has caused the voters of Chicago. I will share updated numbers only when they are accurate and verified.”

Bever claimed the ballots were secured — but yet they were somehow completely left out of initial tallies.

CBOE said attorneys for both candidates were notified and agreed ballot counting and signature verification could continue Sunday with poll watchers present. The CBOE has until April 2 to certify the election.

The CBOE is still counting votes and said 10,659 ballots were added to the count on Saturday and 13,107 on Sunday.

Conveniently, mail-in ballots have trended positively for Harris, according to the Chicago Tribune.

[READ NEXT: Thanks To Mail-In Voting, California Still Counting Ballots Two Weeks After Election]

O’Neill Burke and Harris are vying to be the Democrat nominee to replace the outgoing left-wing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. O’Neill Burke has received endorsements from both the Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Tribune while Harris has received endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union and Cook County Democrats, according to Axios.

O’Neill Burke has vowed to restore the $300 threshold for prosecuting shoplifting as a felony, as set by state law, after Foxx raised it to $1,000.

O’Neill Burke said the policy “doesn’t deter crime, it promotes it,” according to The Associated Press.

[READ NEXT: Chicago Teachers March Students Out Of School To Vote On A Tax Hike]

Harris said he would keep the current $1,000 threshold for prosecuting retail theft and instead focus on going after gun traffickers and organized crime, according to WTTW.

Harris also said race should be considered during sentencing, according to the Associated Press.


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