ALBANY PARK — Residents in the 33rd Ward will have to wait to find out who won Tuesday’s runoff election.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, challenger Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez won 50.2 percent of the vote, a slight advantage over the 49.7 percent Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) got, according to unofficial results from the Chicago Board of Elections. With a difference of 64 votes, the race is still too close to call.
Mell’s had close calls before. In 2015, she narrowly defended her City Council seat by 17 votes.
Citywide, 200 mail-in ballots that arrived Monday, 3,700 that arrived Tuesday, and approximately 1,700 provisional ballots need to be counted. More mail-in ballots are expected to arrive in the coming days, and will be counted Friday and Saturday. Fewer than 500 pre-trial detainee ballots still need to be counted, according to the Board of Elections. In addition, ballots cast at 38 nursing homes Monday have not yet been counted, according to The Daily Line.
The board will also examine 10 precincts in the city where there were discrepancies discovered between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters recorded in poll books.
A final, official count will be certified on April 16.
Turnout for Chicago’s historic election on Tuesday, which saw the city vote in its first black, openly lesbian mayor, was among the worst in recent history. Less than half of 33rd Ward voters, 39.4 percent, cast a ballot this election.
And out of the 10,894 ballots cast in the 33rd Ward, the five areas with the highest voter turnout were three precincts in Albany Park — Precinct 24 with 586 voters, Precinct 8 with 583 voters and Precinct 3 with 463 voters — and two in Irving Park — Precinct 16 with 471 voters and Precinct 25 with 455 voters.
Current unofficial results show the top three precincts Mell won on Tuesday were two areas in Albany Park — Precinct 24 with 387 votes and Precinct 8 with 361 votes — and Avondale’s Precinct 9 with 274 votes.
Meanwhile Rodríguez-Sánchez got the most support from three areas in Albany Park — Precinct 20 with 269 votes, Precinct 3 with 268 votes, and Precinct 18 with 249 votes.
Rodríguez-Sánchez, a community activist, forced Mell into the runoff in the February general election. The race was tight, with each candidate securing about 41 percent of the vote.
If elected, Rodriguez will make history as the ward’s first Latinx alderman and be the fifth Democratic Socialist elected to City Council this year.
Mell, the daughter of political powerhouse and former Ald. Dick Mell, has presided over the diverse 33rd Ward since 2013. She was appointed to replace her father. Mell is also the sister-in-law of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Mell has called her critics’ labeling of her as part of the political “Machine” an “easy out.”
Throughout the campaign, Mell and Rodríguez-Sánchez have said they want to build more affordable housing, improve public schools and protect immigrant communities and LGBTQ residents.
The 33rd Ward covers parts of Ravenswood Manor, Avondale, Albany Park and Irving Park.
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