Close vote prompts discovery recount on Antioch library referendum

  • Voters Nov. 3 narrowly authorized the Antioch Public Library District to borrow $9.6 million by issuing bonds to expand and upgrade the facility.

    Voters Nov. 3 narrowly authorized the Antioch Public Library District to borrow $9.6 million by issuing bonds to expand and upgrade the facility. Courtesy of Antioch Public Library

Updated 12/3/2020 5:59 PM

A discovery recount of a narrowly approved measure to allow for major building improvements at the Antioch library has been scheduled for Tuesday.

State election law allows petitioners to request votes in up to 25% of the precincts in a given race or ballot question be recounted. That equates to four of 16 precincts in the Antioch Public Library District.


The proceeding doesn't change the result, in which voters -- by a margin of 8 votes of 13,162 cast -- authorized the library to borrow $9.6 million. If objectors find anomalies during the discovery process, they can petition a judge for a full recount.

"Because the results have been certified, everything stands as is," said Todd Govain, chief deputy Lake County clerk. "The discovery process doesn't change anything at all."

A petition for a discovery recount can be requested if vote totals fall within 5% of an opponent. They occasionally are requested in a local race involving candidates but Govain said this is the first he's seen regarding a referendum question.

Antioch resident Brent Bluthardt filed the petition for discovery recount with the county clerk's office and, as required, was joined by four other electors.

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He said he opposed the referendum question as another contributor to high taxes and not because he or other opponents are anti-library.

"The discovery recount doesn't do anything," he said. "If there's nothing discovered, you walk away (and) it's done. It's not a matter of us versus them."

Bluthardt said the intent is to ensure accuracy.

"I'm not saying there are any issues or I'm aware of anything," he added. "It's just a close election and split electorate."

Besides reviewing the totals of a portion of the ballots cast, Govain said, there is other information available to petitioners, such as whether election judges initialed a ballot, for example.

He said the only time a recount was ordered by the court was in the November 2018 sheriff's race, when incumbent Mark Curran lost by 137 votes out of 245,633 cast to John Idleburg. Curran conceded two days into a scheduled four-day recount.


The discovery recount is more an allowed formality, Govain added.

Meanwhile, the library district is continuing with planning for an expansion and renovation.

"The vote has been certified by the Lake County clerk and the district will proceed accordingly," said library Director Jennifer Drinka.

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