Challengers Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10) and Milagros “Milly” Santiago (31) maintained their leads over incumbents Ald. John Pope (10) and Ald. Ray Suarez (31), according to the final, unofficial vote count released by the Board of Elections Tuesday.

After counting all the additional absentees and provisional ballots for the two undecided wards, Sadlowski-Garza’s lead over Ald. Pope dropped from 33 to 20 votes, while Santiago maintained a healthier 79-vote lead over Ald. Suarez.

And while the BOE won’t certify the results until Thursday, it is unlikely the totals will change, says Jim Allen, spokesperson for the Board of Elections.

Volunteers at the Board of Election’s downtown office spent more than three hours counting all remaining absentee ballots for all 50 wards Tuesday, while election judges and attorneys for Ald. Pope, Sadlowski-Garza, and Santiago closely monitored the activity. Milly Santiago was the only aldermanic candidate in attendance. No one from Ald. Suarez’s team attended the count.

10th Ward: Ald. Pope v. Susan Sadlowski Garza
Final unofficial totals: Sadlowski Garza (5,825) – Pope (5,805)

The Board did not receive additional absentee ballots for the 10th Ward race since their last count on Saturday, April 11. However 42 rejected 10th Ward absentee ballots had been appealed and 37 of those ballots were validated and counted toward the totals: 24 for Ald. Pope and 13 for Sadlowski-Garza. Aldertrack was also told, by several sources from both campaigns, that between 34 and 37 provisional ballots would be included in the final counts, but only 32 of those were added in the BOE’s unofficial totals released at the end of the day.

Since both candidates in the contentious Southeast Side race filed petitions to contest the election results in Cook County Court last week, it is unlikely the 10th Ward race will be finished for Sadlowski Garza when the BOE certifies the results.

Minutes after unofficial totals were released to representatives for both 10th Ward candidates, Aldertrack was told that Sadlowski-Garza would withdraw her petition from the Cook County Circuit Court. The Pope campaign says they are still weighing their options.

“Both campaigns filed legal briefs so that the ballots are legally counted and the [system is] transparent,” Jake Breymaier, campaign manager for Ald. Pope, told Aldertrack when asked about the status of his candidate’s suit.

31st Ward: Ald. Ray Suarez & Milagros “Milly” Santiago
Final unofficial totals: Santiago (4,218) – Suarez (4,139)

Of the 10 new and appealed absentee ballots that were counted and added to the totals for the 31st Ward, Ald. Ray Suarez received the majority, 8 votes, but that was not enough to break Santiago’s comfortable lead over the incumbent alderman. She finished Tuesday’s count 79 votes ahead of Ald. Suarez. Since there are no new ballots left to be counted and neither candidate filed a petition to contest the results, Santiago is the unofficial winner of the 31st Ward race.