Rickert poised to resign, but still seeks discovery recount
Not only is Kane County Treasurer David Rickert expected to resign if he becomes the chief financial officer of Winnebago County -- he is also one of three Republicans who have filed for discovery recounts, which will begin at 9 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Kane County Clerk's Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Building B, Geneva.
Jim Oberweis, who lost his bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood of Naperville in the Nov. 3 general election, filed for a discovery recount in all seven counties in the 14th Congressional District.
In Kane County, however, the discovery recount is not only for Oberweis, but also Jeannette Ward, who lost her to Democrat Karina Villa for Oberweis's former seat in Illinois Senate District 25; and Rickert, who lost his bid for Kane County Board Chairman to Democrat Corinne Pierog.
In a text message, Rickert wrote he was seeking the discovery recount "in order to ensure the integrity of the process."
"I do not anticipate overturning the election. I wish Chairman Pierog best wishes in her leadership role," Rickert's text stated.
But if overturning an election is not the goal in a discovery recount -- what is? And why are there four candidates together on this recount?
Kane County Republican Party Chairman Ken Shepro said they were using a scheme he suggested.
"Under discovery recount, you can ask for 25% of the precincts and no more," Shepro said. "But if four people each ask for 25%, they can get all 100% of the 291 precincts."
Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said only Ward, Rickert and Oberweis had filed petitions for discovery recounts and the deadline is past for any others to file.
Cunningham said Shepro is wrong to think the filings would cover that much of the county and that only about 128 precincts would be counted with three people seeking the recount.
If the object of the recount is to show "massive fraud or fictitious voters," they would be able to look at enough precincts to show that, Shepro said.
"None of what they find would change the results anyway, but it would give them evidence to file an election contest," Shepro said. "An election contest would have to be filed by the end of next week, it's 30 days from the date of the canvass which was Nov. 17."
Because Illinois has no recount statute, the only way a candidate can overturn an election is by filing a lawsuit, Shepro said.
"You can't say, 'It's really close and I'd like a recount to find out if I won.' You have to say, 'I won. And here is my evidence,'" Shepro said. "And if you don't allege facts that prove you won, the court is going to throw the case out. You have to have actual allegations. The purpose of the discovery ... is to allow you an opportunity to find the evidence."
However, Pierog said of the pending recount, "I have full confidence in the integrity of the Kane County Clerk's Office to ensure a fair and honest ballot count."
As to Rickert being expected to be hired in Winnebago, his letter to the Candidate Selection Committee detailing his qualifications is dated Nov. 4, the day after he lost the Nov. 3 election for Kane County Board Chair to Democrat Corinne Pierog.
According to the job posting, chief financial officer would pay $120,000 to $140,000, which is more than what Rickert's salary is listed in his job as treasurer -- $99,990 -- but with benefits, the cost is $134,100 according to the county's earnings listed for 2019.
Rickert did not respond to a text message about the Winnebago position, but Pierog said Rickert's pending resignation of the treasurer position he has held for 21 years "is truly speculative."
"I have not heard any confirmation from Rickert," Pierog said.
As Rickert has two years remaining on his term, Pierog would have to appoint someone to replace him.