Going into the recount Thursday, a swing of five or more votes was all incumbent St. Charles Alderman Cliff Carrignan needed to retain hopes of keeping his Second Ward seat. When the counting was done, five votes did indeed change hands. But it wasn't the change Carrignan hoped for.
Challenger Art Lemke went to bed on election night defeating Carrignan by a mere five votes. That remained the margin of victory in the certified total. But Carrignan called for a recount in the long-shot chance that some ballots had not been tallied correctly despite electronic ballot counting.
Carrignan was allowed to select one precinct for the recount. He chose the 28th, where he lives, believing it would be his best chance at overcoming the gap between him and Lemke. The first part of the recount involved only the ballots cast on election day. That effort saw the margin remain at five votes. Then the Kane County Clerk's office recounted the early and absentee votes, again, only for the 28th precinct. After that effort, Carrignan found himself down by 10 votes.
"I obviously picked the wrong precinct," Carrignan said with a chuckle. "I would just say that, obviously, it was a close election. We've done the due process. And I congratulate Art. I'll remain an active citizen in St. Charles. It's a wonderful community, and it was an honor to serve."
Lemke acknowledged he was a bit surprised to see his margin of victory grow in the recount. He was expecting no change in the vote count. The win means he'll just get back to the business he already began this week when he took the oath of office and cast his first votes.
"My mailbox in full of things to read already," Lemke said. "I picked up a copy of the comprehensive plan. I've got two notebooks from the city. I guess you could say I'm harnessed already, and they are cracking the whip."