Months after election, battle for Buffalo Grove board seat being waged in court
More than three months after voters cast their ballots at the polls, the race for a Buffalo Grove village trustee seat is still being contested in the courts.
Soojae Lee, who finished just two votes behind Trustee David Weidenfeld for the third of three seats at stake in the April 2 election, is asking a judge to order a recount of all ballots in the contest.
He contends that a partial recount held earlier this year indicates some votes for him may have gone uncounted. In Vernon Township, for example, he argues that one voter intending to vote for him put an "x" on the ballot oval instead of filling it in as required. Twenty-three other voters filled in only a portion of the oval, he says.
Lee also alleges that in one Wheeling Township precinct, 18 voters' signatures do not match the signature on the voter registration document.
"After the discovery recount, I noticed there were enough things that could probably change the outcome of the election," Lee said.
On Tuesday, a Lake County judge transferred the Lake County portion of the Lee's challenge to Cook County, where a status hearing is set for July 16.
Lee said he is not asking for another election, and a full recount should not be too burdensome, with 30 precincts and nearly 5,000 votes to examine.
"The only thing we need to do is make sure it was counted properly," he added.
Weidenfeld, who was sworn in for the 4-year term in May, said he believes running the ballots through counting machines again will lead to the same result. But he believes Lee is asking a judge to change how some voters are counted.
"That's not what (Lee) wants. He is asking for something different," he said.
Weidenfeld said fighting the legal challenge is proving to be costly for him.
"I won the election. I was certified as the winner," he said. "I'm not willing to be financially intimidated to give up."