Assessor candidate says Cook County clerk, others violated court order
Andrea Raila alleges in a complaint filed with an Illinois appeals court that Cook County Clerk David Orr and Chicago Board of Elections commissioners violated the justices' order that all votes for her should have been counted in the Democratic primary for assessor last month.
Oak Park asset manager Fritz Kaegi won the three-way Democratic primary for Cook County assessor with 314,043 votes -- more than double Raila's total. Hounded by accusations his office unfairly shifted the tax burden from wealthier property owners to the poor and middle class, incumbent Joseph Berrios finished second with 234,248 votes, followed by Raila's 142,104.
Raila was on and off the ballot due to rulings before Election Day, but she said she decided against going to Cook County circuit court to seek what would be a costly second assessor primary by Friday's deadline.
Instead, Raila filed the complaint asking that the First District Illinois Appellate Court hold Orr and the Chicago elections commissioners in contempt of the order that all votes for her should have been counted. She said she wants to ensure best practices are used for future Cook County elections and that a contempt finding would show the General Assembly that action is needed to prevent what will be a recurring problem.
"Despite Ms. Raila's requests, no effort was made by the election authorities to inform the voters that they were erroneous when they previously claimed that votes for Ms. Raila would not count," court documents say.
Cook County clerk spokesman Nick Shields defended the clerk's actions.
"We want to assure voters in suburban Cook County that we are confident the election was properly administered and that we followed the court's orders," Shields said.
Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen said the "appropriate place and time" to respond Raila will be in court.
In February, Cook County Electoral Board members ruled Raila should be removed from the Democratic primary ballot due to faulty nominating petitions. She made an unsuccessful appeal in Cook County circuit court. Although her name was on the ballot, many early voters were informed tallies for Raila would not count. She was reinstated to the ballot by an Illinois appeals court six days before the March 20 election.
On Election Day, the Chicago Board of Elections acknowledged signs erroneously stating votes for Raila would not count were placed for a short time in a smattering of precincts.