PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It will be next week at the earliest before the Philadelphia City Commission certifies the results of Tuesday’s primary elections.

That’s because of a vigorous challenge to some of the non-machine ballots mailed in by voters (see related story).

“There’s also ballots that have the absentee box challenge but they filled it out as alternative,” explained attorney Kevin Greenberg, who represents Kenyatta Johnson, who holds a slim edge in the race to be the Democratic nominee for Philadelphia City Council’s 2nd District seat.

The unofficial results have Johnson beating candidate Barbara Capozzi by 72 votes (see related story), but there are 164 paper ballots on which the race could turn. These are absentee, alternate, and provisional ballots.

Greenberg is challenging 50 of the ballots so Common Pleas Court judges (above), sitting as the acting commission — because the city commissioners themselves were running for re-election — have been going through them ballot by ballot.

The other tight race the paper ballots could determine is for the Republican mayoral nomination.  Just 59 votes separate party-backed candidate Karen Brown and upstart John Featherman, and there are about 1,600 paper ballots still to be counted (see related story).

Featherman’s attorney, Wally Zimolong, says what’s at stake is no less than the future of Philadelphia’s Republican party.

“The forces at odds are the old-guard establishment that in our onion have decimated the party versus those that want to move forward, build voter registration, and put forward electable candidates,” he said.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060