Akhras claims victory in D86 election

Series: Decision 2023 | Story 17

After watching the margin between herself and fellow District 86 school board candidate Andrew Catton widen, Asma Akhras declared victory late Friday, three days after the election.

“I can tell I’m still absorbing it,” she told The Hinsdalean Tuesday. “There’s a celebratory aspect. There’s a relief aspect — it was a tough campaign. There is an excitement aspect.”

Unofficial election results on April 5, the day after the election, showed Akhras in the lead by 195 votes over Catton. That margin had widened to 297 votes by Monday and stood at 360 votes Wednesday (Akhras 5,434, Catton 5,074).

Akhras said she waited to declare out of respect for Catton and the process.

“I wanted to be really confident in saying we won and not feel any hesitation,” she said, noting that she held off until the district reached out to her and another publication that had supported Catton declared her the victor.

Catton could not be reached for comment prior to press time Wednesday.

Counting of mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day will continue in DuPage County until April 18, two weeks after the election, a county spokeswoman said. More than 80,000 voters requested mail-in ballots. As of Wednesday, 40,780 had been counted.

Other winners in the election were Kay Gallo (updated vote count of 7,032) and Cat Greenspon (6,920 votes). The fifth candidate in the race was Debbie Willoughby (3,102 votes)

Voter turnout in DuPage County was slightly more than 20 percent, with 123,423 of the county’s 610,092 registered voters casting a ballot.

District 86 has scheduled a re-organization meeting for Wednesday, May 3. At that time the election results will be certified, new board members will take the oath of office and officer elections will be held.

Akhras said she’s excited to represent district residents in making key decisions and to be one of the voices shaping the new strategic plan.

“I think that’s what excites me the most,” she said.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean