Up to 400,000 Illinois votes could still be in the mail as election night ends

More than 7% of the vote could still be out, leaving many races in the balance.

SHARE Up to 400,000 Illinois votes could still be in the mail as election night ends
Employees sort through mail in ballots at the Cook County Clerk Election Operation Center at 1330 S. 54th St Ave. in Cicero Oct. 27.

Employees sort through mail in ballots at the Cook County Clerk Election Operation Center at 1330 S. 54th St Ave. in Cicero Oct. 27.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Complete coverage of the local and national primary and general election, including results, analysis and voter resources to keep Chicago voters informed.

In an unprecedented year for mail-in voting, election night ended with between 300,000 and 400,000 mail ballots yet to arrive to Illinois voting authorities. 

That means many key races could still be waiting on anywhere from roughly 5% to 7% of the ballots cast, if turnout this election is similar to the state’s 2016 turnout of almost 5.7 million ballots cast. Mail ballots needed to postmarked on Tuesday but can be counted through Nov. 17. 

An all-time high of 2.4 million Illinoisans requested mail ballots this year, and about 1.8 million of those were received for counting by Election Day. 

At least 50,000 voters surrendered their mail ballots, so they could vote in person on Tuesday, according to estimates by the Illinois State Board of Elections, and that number could climb even higher.

As a result, as polls were closing Tuesday night, officials said their estimate of up to 400,000 outstanding mail ballots “could change significantly depending on the true number of mail ballots surrendered.”

More than 134,000 ballots had yet to be returned from voters in suburban Cook County, and upwards of 30,000 hadn’t yet come back from Chicago voters. DuPage County was waiting on almost 50,000 votes. 

The Latest
The 25-year-old was found about 10:35 p.m. inside a first-floor apartment in the 6500 block of South Greenwood Avenue with a gunshot wound to the face. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Residents reported tornadoes touching down in Sugar Grove, Hinckley and Waterman. Chicago hit 74 degrees, missing the record by one degree. Temperatures are expected to drop into the upper teens to low 20s, overnight, with snow and rain arriving for the morning commute.
The 2-for-29 shooting from three-point range was bad enough, but what really disappointed Bulls coach Billy Donovan was the team’s lack of hustle in what was still a winnable game until late in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders regularly churn out high-major-college prospects, but it is the team-first senior guards who have been the key to coach Rob Brost’s tenure.