DECATUR – The final tally of votes in Macon County did little to provide clarity into one of the closest races in state history.
Two weeks after the hectic scene of election night, a calmer sense of duty swept through the Macon County Clerk's Office as a half-dozen employees went through the task of tabulating absentee and provisional ballots from the Nov. 4 election.
After a few hours, County Clerk Steve Bean said there were 99 additional votes accounted for after the ballots were counted.
While they have no impact on local races, the ballots could help provide some clarity in the race for Illinois treasurer. Out of more than 3.4 million ballots cast in Illinois, state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, led state Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, by 0.01 percent, or 492 votes, as of late Tuesday afternoon.
But there was practically no gain for either candidate in Macon County, as Cross received 44 votes compared to Frerich's 45 votes. Libertarian candidate Matthew Skopek received 10 votes. In Macon County, Cross received 18,723 votes, compared to 13,020 for Frerichs and 1,216 for Skopek.
State law requires most county clerks outside of Cook and its neighboring counties to wait two weeks before they count absentee and provisional ballots.
Other Central Illinois counties were still processing the additional ballots Tuesday afternoon, with just DeWitt County reporting new votes, with four for Cross out of five new ballots.
The State Board of Elections has until Monday to tabulate all remaining ballots, and a winner must be declared by the end of November.
If the race remains close once a winner is declared, the losing candidate has the right to request a recount, which must be approved by the Illinois Supreme Court.
The race is all but assured to break the record for closest statewide race in modern Illinois history, with the next closest being the 1982 gubernatorial race, when two-term GOP Gov. James Thompson defeated U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III by 5,074 votes.