Illinois cliffhanger tips Democratic

Two days after the general election, they were still counting ballots in Illinois, trying to name the winner of that state's governor's race. Voters defied predictions of a landslide victory for incumbent Gov. James Thompson by giving his opponent almost an equal number of votes, Monitor correspondent Lucia Mouat reports.

Newly counted Chicago votes put the Democrat, Adlai Stevenson III, back in the lead Thursday, but the race remained so close both sides said the courts may have to settle it.

With all but 185 of the state's 11,642 precincts counted, Mr. Stevenson held a lead of 3,558 votes, according to figures compiled by News Election Service. Mr. Stevenson had 1,777,785 votes to Mr. Thompson's 1,774,227.

The new totals for the Chicago vote showed Stevenson winning the city, 719, 492 to 258,090. Election officials in Chicago, where the counting was especially slow and late in the tallying, cited mechanical failures as the reason for their tardiness. Difficulties ranged, they said, from breakdowns of the city's new computer punch card voting system, battery failures in precinct reporting equipment, improper sealing of some precinct ballots, and some ballots made too soggy by humidity to count.

All this has spurred speculation in the Thompson camp that election authorities in Democratic Chicago might be setting aside some precincts to improve Stevenson's showing. The word from the Chicago Board of Elections is that neither candidate may be a clear winner until the state Board of Elections actually certifies the results officially on Nov. 22.

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