The two are fighting for the last of two at-large Council seats reserved for the minority party; incumbent Republican Frank Rizzo captured the first. Five other at-large seats were won by Democrats.
Bob Lee, city voter registration administrator, said he hoped to have a full unofficial count of the machine vote by today and the official machine count by tomorrow.
But counting of absentee, alternative, provisional and military ballots will take time.
That will include the painstaking process of auditing provisional ballots to make sure they're legitimate. Provisional ballots are given to people who turn out to vote, but who are found not to be registered at their polling place.
The Board of Elections is supposed to certify the election within 20 days of the vote, or the Monday after Thanksgiving.
"I think we're going to be counting for a couple of weeks," Lee said.
Elections workers reported 2,238 absentee ballots, 233 alternative ballots, and eight military ballots to be counted.
Alternative ballots are similar to absentee ballots and are given to the handicapped or the elderly whose polling places are not fully accessible.
More military ballots could come in; they must be postmarked the day before the election and arrive within seven days after the election.
The number of provisional ballots won't be known before next week.
Kelly may have an advantage with the absentee ballots. Both John Dougherty's International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and State Rep. John Perzel (R., Phila.) had sent absentee ballots to presumed Kelly supporters as part of a drive for Kelly. At least 400 to 500 of those ballots were returned, Kelly spokesman Frank Keel said. Oh had no such initiatives.
Oh said he normally would expect absentee ballots to favor the familiar candidate - in this case, Kelly. Still, Oh said many absentee voters are also older, and his campaign targeted senior citizens with newspaper ads.
"My street sense is we did well with seniors, so I'd call it a toss-up," Oh said. "I'm not holding my breath - I know the number's going to go up and down."
While Democrats and Republicans typically take to these recount fights with gusto, the tilt between two GOP candidates "is not an easy thing to do," said Michael Meehan, chairman of the Republican City Committee.
But it had already taken on some partisan flair yesterday, as Oh hired attorney Gregory M. Harvey, an election-law expert who usually represents Democrats. Kelly's team hired Republican attorney George Bochetto, who also has represented Dougherty.
Kelly did not return calls seeking comment.
Contact staff writer Jeff Shields
at 215-854-4565 or email@example.com.