The results of two races in Tuesday's primary - the Republican mayoral nomination and a Democratic nomination to City Council - won't be resolved until at least next week.
Karen Brown, a Democratic committeewoman recruited by leaders of the Republican City Committee to run for mayor, held a 53-vote lead over John Featherman with 97.2 percent of the vote tallied.
State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson held a 72-vote lead over real-estate broker Barbara Capozzi in Council's 2nd District - which encompasses parts of South and Southwest Philly and Center City - with 97.8 percent of the votes counted.
The margins were less than one-half of 1 percent in both races.
The cartridges used to record votes in 65 of the machines used at polling places around the city were still not returned to the City Commission yesterday. Commission staffers said that there might be votes in the GOP mayoral race on those cartridges but that none of them is from the 2nd District.
The commission's official vote count starts tomorrow.
There were 1,459 absentee ballots cast citywide, including 155 in the 2nd District. There were 214 alternative ballots, used for elderly people with polling places that are not accessible to them, six of them in the 2nd District.
The commission will not know until tomorrow whether the absentee and alternative ballots are from Republicans or Democrats.
There is no count yet of military ballots, which can arrive up to seven days after an election, and provisional ballots, used when there is a question at the polls about someone's eligibility to vote.
The tension of of the close races was clear yesterday as Capozzi showed frustration at a commission meeting on the election.
"It's been . . . too upsetting a process," Capozzi said later. "It's too disturbing."
Johnson, through a spokesman, said he had anticipated a close race and praised Capozzi for being a tough competitor.
Another candidate, lawyer Damon Roberts, withdrew from the race two weeks ago and endorsed Johnson. But Roberts, who quit too late to have his name removed from the ballot, received 319 votes Tuesday that will not be counted in the official tally.
Featherman, part of a GOP group trying to take control of the party in the city, said his performance sent a message to Republican City Committee leaders Vito Canuso and Michael Meehan.
"Whether I win or not, this is a stunning defeat of their machine," he said. "Their machine is useless. It's flaccid. It's limp."
Brown lamented the light voter turnout Tuesday and said that she counted on more Election Day help from her new GOP allies.
"Obviously I'm the only hope for the party," she said. "Featherman only wants to destroy the party."
A candidate can contest election results in Common Pleas Court but would need to provide evidence of fraud or illegality large enough to affect the outcome of a race.