As they say in the political trenches, an election ain’t over until the the votes are counted–and over in the 25th Ward it’s not over even then.
Yesterday the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners granted Cuahutemoc Morfin’s request for the release of all votes cast for Ambrosio Medrano in the early rounds of the 25th’s aldermanic election, possibly sending incumbent alderman Danny Solis into a runoff.
Here’s the deal. On February 23, days before last week’s election, the Illinois Supreme Court knocked Medrano off of the ballot and ruled that votes cast for him not be counted on the grounds that he’s subject to a state law that prohibits felons from running for office. (Medrano, Solis’s predecessor, went to prison for taking bribes while in office.)
The court’s ruling, however, came after many 25th Ward voters had cast their ballots in early or absentee voting. Morfin’s lawyer, Richard Means, argues that Medrano’s votes should be added to the total ballots cast, even if they don’t count for Medrano. If you add as many as 200 votes to the 6,845 that were cast, Solis falls below the 50 threshold he needs to avoid a runoff against Morfin, who finished second.
So the first step’s to figure how many votes were cast for Medrano. On March 1 Means filed a freedom of information request with the board, and on Tuesday the board turned over the tally.
The result: 178 votes cast for Medrano. So out Solis’s percent of the total falls slightly to 50.1, just enough to avoid an April 17 runoff.
But not so fast. There’s still the matter of 24 write-in votes as well as provisional ballots that haven’t been tallied. Means will make another appearance before the election board tomorrow , asking for the release of the to demand that they continue their search for enough Medrano votes to force a runoff.