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Tegeler, Kostelny 10 votes apart, more still to count

Challenger holds lead in judicial race

Published: Monday, March 24, 2014 10:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:47 a.m. CDT

D.J. Tegeler’s apparent victory over Associate Kane County Judge Marmarie Kostelny to fill an upcoming judicial vacancy has turned out to be closer than the unofficial tally recorded on election night, officials said.

Tegeler, a Geneva attorney, has 6,213 votes, and Kostelny, an Elgin resident, has 6,203 votes, according to totals provided by Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham and the Aurora Election Commission.

Both election jurisdictions have mail-in and other ballots that, once counted, could declare another winner, officials said.

“They are 10 votes apart,” Cunningham said. “But I have 34 absentee ballots that are still out and that do affect this particular race.”

Cunningham said the mail-in ballots have to be postmarked before the day of the primary election, which was March 18, and will be opened and counted April 1.

Linda Fechner, executive director of the Aurora Election Commission, said there are up to 10 ballots concerning this race that could change the results. Three are mail-in Republican ballots – with one still not received. Two are grace-period votes, and four are provisional votes, Fechner said.

Grace-period voters were those who registered to vote between Feb. 19 and March 15. Fechner said with the new voting laws allowing registration and voting up to three days before an election, they mail out voter ID cards to those grace-period voters to make sure they live at the address they provided.

As to provisional ballots, those belonged to people who went to vote on the day of the primary, and their name was not in the book.

“They have until seven days after the election to come in with supporting documentation,” Fechner said. “Two have come in, and one of the two will not be counted because they were not registered in our jurisdiction after all.”

The other two have until 5 p.m. today to bring in supporting materials, she said, or their votes will not be counted. These ballots will not be cast until April 1, both Cunningham and Fechner said.

Tegeler said he thought it would be a close race – but not this close.

“There’s not a whole lot I can do about it,” Tegeler said. “I thank all my supporters. We both fought a clean campaign.”

As to the notion that all votes count, Tegeler said he would be happy to visit a civics class and talk about how important voting is.

“The turnout should be 98 percent, not 18 percent,” Tegeler said.

Kostelny did not return a voicemail message seeking comment. The winner will fill the vacancy left by Judge Karen Simpson, who plans to retire Oct. 6.

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