Quick Hit Matthew Blake Wednesday March 21st, 2012, 4:30pm

Guzzardi Wants Every Vote Counted In 39th District Race Against Berrios (UPDATED)

With incumbent 39th District State Rep. Maria Berrios up by all of 72 votes, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, challenger Will Guzzardi says that his campaign will push the city to count the remaining ballots, and that his campaign may ask for a recount.

“We are going to first make sure every vote gets counted – that absentee and provisional ballots get counted,” Guzzardi told Progress Illinois. Provisional ballots are when someone votes despite questions regarding their voter registration status.

As for a recount, Guzzardi notes that the campaign can buy time until April 3rd– the deadline for the city to count absentee ballots and certify the election results. At that time, Guzzardi must decide whether to pay for the city to recount up to 25 percent of the 39th District’s polling precincts.

Guzzardi said that his campaign would look at claims that election judges contributed to discrepancies in vote tallies. However, Guzzardi would not say now what, exactly, these accusations were.

“We heard a number of reports from our poll watchers documenting specific incidents,” Guzzardi says. “I wish I could be more specific with you.”

With all but one precinct reporting, Berrios leads Guzzardi 3,918 to 3,846 votes, or 50.46 percent to 49.54 percent. The outstanding precinct is in the 31st Ward – where Berrios’s father is ward committeeman. Capital Fax reported today that the unofficial tally from that precinct would give Berrios an additional 29 votes.

That this election has even come to detailed issues of ballot counting and the fair administration of polling places is fairly remarkable. Berrios is the son of Cook County assessor and Cook County Democratic Party chairman Joe Berrios, and she has mostly run unopposed in past primary, and general, elections.

Guzzardi, meanwhile, is 24 and new to running for office, and previously worked as a journalist.

Berrios’ fundraising totals dwarfed Guzzardi’s, including $30,000 from Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan’s campaign fund, Democratic Majority.

Calls to Berrios were not returned. Her office noted that the General Assembly was in session, and that she would be on the House floor all day.

Update 1 (5:57 p.m.): The last precinct is in. According to the Chicago Board of Elections, the final difference in votes betweeen the two candidates is 111, with Berrios taking the win.


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