Outstanding vote-by-mail ballots could determine who wins Peoria mayoral race

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The wait continues. After election night, Peoria’s mayoral race is too close to call with a number of ballots possibly left to be counted.

The Peoria Election Commission officials said over the years, they’ve seen a number of votes come down to the wire. The 2021 mayoral race between council members Jim Montelongo and Dr. Rita Ali are the latest addition to that list.

“This is the first for the city this big for us but we’ve definitely had races really close before,” said Thomas Bride, Executive Director of Peoria Election Commission.

As of Wednesday, 73 votes gave Montelongo a slight lead after election night, but approximately 675 outstanding vote-by-mail ballots could decide Peoria’s next leader.

“By outstanding, they’ve been sent a vote-by-mail ballot but it hasn’t come back yet,” Bride said.

Bride said ballots postmarked by Tuesday, April 6, and received within two weeks of election day will be counted.

“We’re going through the process we would go through for any other election. It wouldn’t matter if someone won [in] a landslide,” he said.

Montelongo said he is thankful for the support he has seen and will now turn his turn attention to the remaining ballots.

“We’re going to make sure that we’re there when these votes come in so that we can go through the process, so we’re going to patiently wait to see what’s going to happen,” Montelongo said.

Ali shared a message on her social media Wednesday morning which partially read, “As I said last night, the race is not over”.

Vote-by-mail ballots will be processed on April 8, 12, 16, and 20. Official results will be determined on the last date listed.

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