* Lots of people love mail-in ballots. But as we all clearly saw last November, that means we won’t necessarily know all the results on election night. So, news outlets need to make sure they don’t repeat their mistakes from last fall and publicly declare winners before ascertaining whether tens of thousands of uncounted ballots could change the final scores…
With 37,000 mail-in ballots not yet returned, Chicago election officials on Monday talked openly about a nightmare scenario that suddenly looks real: a mayoral election so close, it drags on for days and even includes a possible recount.
Election Board spokesman Jim Allen is not predicting that will happen. But he’s at least acknowledging that possibility with 63,000 mail-in ballots requested, only 26,000 returned, 1,000 not counted because of defects and a crowded field of 14 mayoral candidates that has left voters confused.
Mail-in ballots can be counted later, so long as they are postmarked on Tuesday — or even Wednesday, if they were mailed on election day.
If the margin separating the top few finishers is smaller than the number of outstanding ballots, we may not know until days or even weeks after Tuesday’s election which candidates will advance to the April 2 runoff.
Also, please stop calling it a “nightmare scenario.” It’s the legal voting process and it’s been around awhile now. I mean, remember the 2014 race when we didn’t know who the next state treasurer would be for a couple of weeks?
Instantaneous results are a fantasy of the media’s own construction.