PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria County Election Commission is counting ballots to confirm the results of a close Peoria Public School Board three-candidate race to fill a pair of seats in District 2.
Tom Bride, executive director of Peoria County Election Commission, said there are 76 outstanding mail-in ballots and six challenged ballots for the race.
Current PPS Board President Gregory Wilson is ahead of newcomer Paris McConnell by almost 100 votes, and just 19 votes separate McConnell and former board member Daniel Walther.
“Its kind of interesting. I’ve been involved in politics ever since I was five…I never thought I would be part of a standoff but I’m excited, and I do appreciate the process,” said McConnell, a former election judge in Kansas City.
Board members are supposed to be sworn in July 1. School starts on August 3.
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, superintendent of Peoria Public Schools, said the school anticipated this situation for more than a year because of the late election date.
“So we planned accordingly,” she said, adding it takes 14 to 25 days to get election results certified.
Instead, Kherat said board members will be now sworn in on July 25. The Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners will certify the results on July 13.
“So it just pushed the reorganization work to the 25th, but that’s okay. We made adjustments for that,” said Kherat.
Walther told WMBD he was disappointed with the way the count is headed, as the gap between McConnell and Walther has increased by four votes since election day.
“I’m very grateful. I had a lot of support from teachers and parents so I’m grateful for them. Wish we’d been 20 votes higher,” he said.
Walther served on the school board from 2016 to 2021.