By Ashley Badgley 217-960-1331
CHICAGO — With the results of the gubernatorial primaries still up in the air, many people are asking what’s next.
Talk of a recount in the Democratic and Republican races has been discussed, but no candidates have officially called for a recount.
Ron Michaelson, former director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, said if a candidate requests a recount, it won’t begin until after March 5, the date when all ballots are officially counted.
Absentee ballots postmarked the day before the election, deployed Armed Forces members’ ballots and any provisional ballots still have to be counted, Michaelson said, and no polls released are official until March 5.
“The county clerk will send an official final vote tally,” Michaelson said. “They have to aggregate all the totals (per county). No recount can begin until the votes are official.”
Illinois’ current law for election recounts has never been used. The previous law was overturned in 1982 after lawmakers found it to be unconstitutional, Michaelson said.
In order to request a recount, a candidate must have 95 percent of the total votes of the other candidate.
Michaelson said candidates must weigh their options concerning a recount. He said recounts are expensive and time-consuming, and often steer voters away from the November general election because the party is not united.
“Candidates have to take these issues into account,” he said. “They want to exhaust all their options. It’s a difficult decision candidates have to make, but they don’t have to make it tomorrow.”
Michaelson said the only good thing he can see from Illinois’ early primary is that candidates have time to do a recount, if necessary. He said if both parties are undergoing an official recount, “neither party will be healing wounds” that were forged during the primary campaigns.
He did note, however, that the Democratic race between Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes was more “nasty” than the Republican primary race.
“The (Republican) party would more quickly and easily get their act together,” Michaelson said. “There is potential for a lengthy, expensive and drawn-out proceeding.”
In the Republican race, candidates state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale are separated by a few hundred votes. The race has not yet been called, and neither candidate has accepted defeat.
However, at a Republican unity breakfast Wednesday morning, Brady noted that, “any Republican is head and shoulders above any Democrat that is running.”
Brady said he’s ready for a recount, if necessary.
Dillard also said he’d consider a recount.
However, both candidates said they would support each other, no matter what the outcome.
On the Democrat side, Quinn declared victory Tuesday night over Hynes. But Hynes said it’s not over yet, and intends on asking for a recount.