MORRIS – Although vote-by-mail ballots are still trickling in, more than 4,500 Grundy County residents cast their vote on Tuesday in the April Consolidated Election. Seats on city councils and school boards, as well as municipal offices, were up for grabs.
In Morris, the only contested race was for Third Ward Alderman. In the Democratic primary in February, incumbent Jeffrey Wachowski was defeated by newcomer Scott Kerr. Kerr faced another new face to Morris politics, Republican Alex Clubb.
The unofficial results from Tuesday show Clubb with a lead, with 191 votes to Kerr's 169. Though there were 91 vote-by-mail ballots still outstanding as of Wednesday evening, the Grundy County Clerk's Office said it was unlikely they would change the outcome in the Morris Third Ward race.
Clubb said Tuesday that he was ready to get to work to bring changes to the ward.
"I'm ready to get in there and do the best I can to get rid of paper mill and clean up east side," Clubb said.
The abandoned Federal Paperboard building was something both candidates agreed on. Both wanted to see the property cleaned up and turned into something for the community, rather than a blight.
The race was contentious, and included Kerr being charged by the Morris Police Department with stealing signs from yards supporting Clubb. A special prosecutor is still examining the evidence in that case before deciding to bring charges.
On Tuesday, Kerr said he had no comment other than to congratulate Clubb.
Clubb said he doesn't have a preference for what committee assignments he wants.
"I'll see what's available and go from there," he said. "I'll see what they give me and do what I can with that."
Clubb thanked his supporters and congratulated Kerr on running.
"It was close," Clubb said.
Minooka Referendum Shot Down
The majority of voters in Will and Kendall counties supported the Minooka School District 201 referendum to build an intermediate school for fifth through eighth grades. The school district was asking for $50 million. However, after accounting for unofficial votes from Grundy County, the referendum appeared to fail with 2,397 votes for and 2,176 votes against.
It was the third time a referendum from the district for funds to build a new school or expand has been rejected by the voters. The request has scaled down with each attempt and the votes have gotten closer.
"Next year won't change for us," Minooka 201 Superintendent Kris Monn said.
It would take time to have built the new school so the district made plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
"We're similar to where we were with the November attempt," Monn said.
Monn said the district will be making changes with scheduling and and class times to accommodate the glut of students. Lunch periods next year will begin at 9:30 a.m., he said. Long term, the next time the district can put a referendum on the ballot is in March of 2020.
In the meantime, Monn said the district will be evaluating their options to move forward.
"We've been evaluating our options for a long time and we really feel like this is the best option," he said.
Tie in Mazon
In Mazon, there is a tie for the third of three trustee positions. Donna Lee and James Hintze both had 79 votes after the polls closed Tuesday. The Grundy County Clerk's Office said there were three potential vote-by-mail ballots outstanding that, if returned, could determine the outcome of the race.
If the race still ends in a tie after all the votes have been counted, it could be settled with a coin toss.
Vote-by-mail ballots had to be postmarked by April 2 in order to count, but have 14 days to be delivered. They will be counted at 10 a.m. April 17 during the official canvassing of the election.
Of the 33,588 registered voters for the election, 4,543 cast votes on or before Tuesday, resulting in a voter turnout of 13.5%.