The Illinois Treasurer's Race Could Become the Closest in State History

More than a week after the election, the Illinois state treasurer's race between Republican state Rep. Tom Cross and Democratic state Sen. Michael Frerichs remains too close to call and is poised to become possibly the closest race in Illinois history. As of today, Cross is leading Frerichs by about 500 votes, according to unofficial counts.

With roughly 3.5 million votes cast -- meaning 1 percentage point is 35,000 votes -- that's a margin of .014 percent.

For pre-1998 elections, the only way to compare closeness in statewide elections -- state constitutional offices and U.S. Senate -- is to sift through paper records.

With a margin of victory of .14 percent, the Thompson-Stevenson race of 1982 is by far the closest of the last 50 years. The next closest, the Quinn-Brady race four years ago, had a margin of victory six times greater. Those are the only two contests of the last 50 years in which margins of victory were less than 1 percent.

Check out the chart at Reboot Illinois that enumerates the closest statewide political races in Illinois from the last 50 years.

Speaking of statewide offices that deal with money, the Illinois Lottery came under fire this week from comedian newscaster John Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight. He blasted the entire state-funded lottery system in the U.S., saying that the lotteries often failed to meet their lofty goals of funding education and other worthwhile projects and possibly encouraged gambling addiction at the same time. He especially knocked Illinois' lottery for advertising the lottery on a webpage meant to offer advice on how to break gambling addictions and for creating a mobile phone application from which Illinoisans can play the state lottery. Watch the whole video at Reboot Illinois.