Former DuPage County auditor wants full recount after losing by 75 votes

  • Bob Grogan, left, and William "Bill" White

    Bob Grogan, left, and William "Bill" White

  • DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek

    DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek

 
 
Updated 12/29/2020 2:09 PM

Former DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan, who lost his reelection bid by 75 votes, is seeking a full recount.

Grogan, a Republican from Downers Grove, was defeated by Democrat William "Bill" White when the final ballots were counted in the Nov. 3 election. White of Downers Grove received 233,121 votes to Grogan's 233,046.

 

White was sworn in as county auditor on Dec, 1.

On Thursday, Grogan filed a petition in DuPage against White and county Clerk Jean Kaczmarek that asks the court to order a full recount of all the precincts "to determine the validity of the proclamation issued by" Kaczmarek.

The petition also asks the court to invalidate the results proclaimed by Kaczmarek and to enter an order declaring that Grogan won the race.

An alternative, according to the petition, would be for the judge to declare the auditor race invalid and to order a new election in April. "I'm not advocating for that," Grogan said of a new election.

Grogan, who had served as county auditor since 2008, said a discovery recount conducted in December uncovered "enough irregularities" that he believes a full recount is merited.

"This is not to say there is some sort of massive conspiracy," Grogan said.

The official election canvass issued Nov. 24 by Kaczmarek stated that Grogan lost by 75 votes.

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In the petition, Grogan says 436 paper ballots cast Election Day in three precincts are invalid because election judges were required to initial the paper ballots, but did not do so. All the precincts voted at a polling place at First Christian Church in Downers Grove.

The petition says an examination of those ballots in December shows 259 votes were for White and 177 votes for Grogan. If all those votes were tossed, Grogan would be the winner, according to the petition.

It also alleges that election judges failed to initial 240 vote-by-mail paper ballots -- 148 for White and 92 for Grogan.

The petition also states there were an unexplained additional 1,626 ballots cast, compared to the number of people that voted; and that electronic voting machines favored White.

The machines were available for use by people who had disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments. The petition alleges the machines highlighted White's name, leading people to vote for him. Republicans pointed out the issue with the machines during the early-voting period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The petition says the machines would first highlight the office being voted. But if the voter didn't select a candidate within 10 seconds, the machine would then highlight the first candidate listed, which were Democrats. The clerk agreed to put stickers on the machines warning people, but by then approximately 120,000 people had voted by machine, according to the petition.

"I'm confident that I will prevail in the litigation," said White, adding that Grogan was pursuing "technicalities" to invalidate votes.

During the discovery recount, ballots from 286 of the county's 930 precincts were recounted.

Pat Bond, the county's election attorney, said the disputed ballots in the three precincts in Downers Grove were initialed electronically in the poll book. Judges were instructed to sign there and on the ballot. he said, because state law only refers to paper ballots.

In a news release Monday, Kaczmarek said the discovery recount found nothing that would change the outcome.

"I am confident of the results of the recounts, just as I am confident of the results that were certified last month," Kaczmarek said.

The case's first court date is scheduled for March 23.

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