THE LOOP — Incumbent aldermen continued to gain as the city's Election Board processed absentee ballots Friday, but no leads changed hands.
Aldermen Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) and Toni Foulkes (15th) padded their leads. Foulkes ran in the 16th Ward after the City Council ward remap. Aldermen John Pope (10th) and Ray Suarez (31st) cut into their deficits, but time and the diminishing number of ballots in the mail are working against them. Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), meanwhile, added to her advantage over challenger Caroline Vickrey.
Foulkes added four more ballots to her cushion over challenger Stephanie Coleman, bringing in 14 votes Friday to Coleman's 10. That left Foulkes with a 148-vote lead.
Brookins added 10 more in his edge over Marvin McNeil, bringing in 29 Friday to McNeil's 19, to open his lead to 286 votes.
Pope trimmed only one vote off Susan Sadlowski Garza's lead Friday, as he added 13 votes and Garza added 12. That left Garza 43 votes ahead.
Suarez took only three votes off challenger Milly Santiago's lead Friday, picking up nine votes to her six. Santiago remained 87 up.
And in the 43rd Ward, which had the third-most requests for absentee ballots in the city, Smith added 43 to Vickrey's 31, expanding Smith's lead to 81 votes. Smith led Election Night, Vickrey pushed ahead by six with the first updated returns Wednesday, and Smith reclaimed the lead with the first absentee update Thursday.
By law, the Board of Election Commissioners allows two weeks for absentee ballots to trickle in through the mail if they've been postmarked by April 6, the day before this week's election. Final ballots will be tallied April 21, with the board expect to certify and proclaim the results April 23.
According to Jim Allen, board spokesman, 800 more absentee ballots came in later Friday, and plans are to count them Saturday afternoon.
Lawyers for both sides in these races argued this week over provisional ballots, where a voters' registration was in question, but Allen said, "There aren't that many" in any of the races. Even after the review process, which extends into next week, provisional ballots deemed valid won't be added to the overall count until April 21.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: