Auditor runner-up says DuPage clerk's estimated cost for a recount is 'outrageous'

DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek says it will cost nearly $290,000 to do a judge-ordered recount of the November race for county auditor.

But the candidate who sought the recount insists Kaczmarek's estimate is too high.

"I think the amount that she has set is outrageous," Bob Grogan said. "This (the recount) isn't just some sort of a waste of time. She has a multimillion-dollar budget to run elections."

Grogan, the Republican incumbent, lost to Democratic challenger William "Bill" White by 75 votes, 233,121 to 233,046, according to official results.

But Grogan sought a recount, claiming in court filings that election judges failed to initial all ballots as required by Illinois law.

During a partial recount in December, it was found that election judges at one polling place failed to initial 436 ballots, according to court documents.

Grogan contends that if the ballots without initials are declared invalid and not counted, he would beat White by seven votes.

White, who was sworn into office in December, maintains that even if the ballots are not initialed, they are still valid and should be counted.

Judge Craig Belford has since ordered a more complete recount of the race.

But that recount is yet to be conducted. One reason is that it hasn't been determined who would pay for it.

Belford is expected to address that issue at a hearing scheduled for Friday morning.

Kaczmarek's attorney, Patrick Bond, has asked the judge to order Grogan to put up an unspecified cash deposit - or other security - before the recount can occur. Meanwhile, the clerk estimates the recount will cost nearly $290,000.

Belford is free to determine what the clerk can charge, so it could be less.

Still, Phil Luetkehans, Grogan's attorney, says Kaczmarek's estimate "surprised" him.

The estimate includes the cost of paying clerk's office staff to help with the recount. Grogan says he shouldn't have to pay those staff members because they would be working anyway.

"It's an attempt to deny justice," Grogan said. "The clerk doesn't want us to look behind the curtain,"

The Illinois Republican Party is collecting money to help Grogan pay for a recount and his legal bills.

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