ALBANY PARK — With all absentee and provisional votes counted, Deb Mell is poised to avoid a run-off in the 33rd Ward race for alderman, but challenger Tim Meegan's camp continues to question the validity of the Feb. 24 election results.
The latest salvo fired on behalf of the Meegan campaign comes from veteran election lawyer Richard Means.
Means has requested a hearing with the Board of Election Commissioners to determine the appropriate standard for calculating the threshold needed to attain the "50 percent plus one" required in order to be declared a winner.
Means' request, on behalf of Meegan, makes a distinction between votes and ballots.
"Votes" doesn't taken into account over-votes, under-votes and write-ins, explained Meegan's campaign chairman Nick Burt.
Current calculations have Mell at 50.21 percent of votes cast. Her total of 4,103, out of 8,171 votes, is 16 above the 4,087 needed to reach 50 percent plus one vote.
Meegan's totals are 2,779 for 34.01 percent of the vote, while third-place finisher Annisa Wanat nabbed 1,289 votes for 15.78 percent.
Of all the ballots cast in the 33rd Ward, approximately 150 failed to register a vote in the aldermanic race, he said.
Either the voter in those instances voted twice for alderman or didn't vote for alderman at all.
If those ballots were used to determine the 50 percent plus one threshold, Mell's total would fall short.
As of press time, the Board of Election Commissioners had not made a decision whether to grant Means' request for a hearing.
Jim Allen, spokesman for the board, called Means' position a “novel concept of the law … bordering on the silly.”
Meegan's campaign has also filed a separate petition calling for a recount.
"The fight definitely continues," said Burt. "The campaign is functioning with the assumption of a run-off."
Election results will be certified Thursday.
Contributing: Ted Cox
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