Already sworn in, Underwood disregards Oberweis' attempt to toss election results

  • Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Lauren Underwood

    Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Lauren Underwood

 
 
Updated 1/5/2021 7:43 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville is disregarding her most recent Republican rival's attempt to jettison the results of November's election.

Alleging voting irregularities, Republican Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove has formally asked the U.S. House to void the election results in the 14th District race and either conduct a recount by hand or hold a special election April 6.

 

"We're asking for a do-over," Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin said.

Underwood spokeswoman Andra Belknap dismissed Oberweis' maneuver as "legal bluster."

"The results of this election will not change," Belknap said. "Congresswoman Underwood was sworn into the 117th Congress on Jan. 3 and remains focused on the work the people of the 14th District elected her to do."

The district includes parts of DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

Underwood defeated Oberweis by 5,374 votes out of more than 401,000 cast in November to win a second term. Oberweis, whose final term as a state Senator for the 25th District ends next week, subsequently requested discovery recounts in the district's seven counties, three of which still are pending, Akin said.

In his notice to the House, Oberweis specifically alleged irregularities in Kane, DuPage and McHenry counties.

Among them, Oberweis claimed thousands of illegal votes were counted. In one case, he said, a Wisconsin resident voted in McHenry County.

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Oberweis' documentation included tweets by someone claiming to be a Kenosha resident who voted for Underwood. The person claimed to be registered to vote in the 14th District and not in Wisconsin. Team Oberweis found someone with the person's name registered in McHenry, Akin said.

McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said he hadn't heard of Oberweis' concerns until he was contacted Tuesday by the Daily Herald. His office has requested a copy of Oberweis' notice of contest and referred the tweet Oberweis cited to the state's attorney's office.

"We take such allegations very seriously," Tirio said.

Oberweis also alleged some Kane County voters were not allowed to vote provisionally. Additionally, he said the number of ballots cast in DuPage County far exceeded the number of voters.

When asked to respond, DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek referred to a recent news release in which she voiced confidence in the certified election results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Nothing was found during the discovery recount that would change the outcome of the 14th District race, the statement said.

Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham stood by his office's count, too. After the election, it audited votes in more than half the county's precincts and found no discrepancies, Cunningham said.

He called Oberweis' appeal to the House a waste of time.

"It's not fun to lose, but sometimes you have to face up to it," Cunningham said.

Oberweis' attorney in the matter is Mark Shaw, chairman of the Lake County Republican organization.

Under the Federal Contested Elections Act, a House candidate is allowed to challenge an election's results after exhausting all possible remedies at the state level.

A House committee will review the case and make a recommendation to the full House for a final decision, Akin said. There is no judicial recourse, he said.

When asked if Oberweis believes the Democratic-controlled House will toss the election results, Akin sidestepped the question. "We have no choice. This is the process," he said. "If they want to disregard the evidence, that's on them."

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