Judge rules White did indeed defeat Grogan in close 2020 DuPage County auditor race

Bob Grogan has lost the 2020 election for DuPage County auditor to William White after a historic recount of the ballots, a judge declared Monday.

"There simply remains no way for Grogan to prevail," DuPage County Judge Craig Belford announced.

The decision appears to have ended a legal fight that started after Grogan, a Downers Grove Republican, received 75 fewer votes than White, a Downers Grove Democrat, in the November 2020 election. Grogan had 233,046 votes to White's 233,121 votes.

White was sworn into office as county auditor in December 2020. But because the race was so close, Grogan got a partial recount.

The partial recount found that election judges at a Downers Grove polling place did not initial 436 ballots on Election Day.

Then in May 2021, Belford declared those ballots invalid and ordered a larger recount. That recount took place in October 2021. According to a report submitted to the court by Kaczmarek, it showed Grogan lost by 58 votes.

On Monday, Belford threw out 10 ballots that contained an 'X' rather than an election judge's initials. Grogan argued that an 'X' was as valid because an 'X' mark is acceptable in place of a signature on many documents. Belford said a mark is legally different from a person's initials and state law requires initials.

Of those 10 ballots, nine were votes for Grogan.

Belford also threw out nine votes for White and one for Grogan because they were on vote-by-mail ballots without dated certifications.

But he also ruled that 20 vote-by-mail ballots postmarked after Election Day should be counted because the voters mailed them before Election Day. It appears the voters may have mailed the ballots in other counties.

And even though the DuPage address was clearly on the envelopes, the postal service delivered them to those counties' election authorities instead. Those authorities later forwarded the ballots to DuPage.

Grogan said he will speak to his advisers about whether it is worthwhile to appeal Belford's ruling. But he also congratulated White.

"It (the recount) wasn't for punitive reasons. ... It wasn't for sour grapes," Grogan said.

County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek released a written statement after the judge's decision.

"I am grateful to my professional staff and bipartisan election judges for their diligent oversight of the first countywide recount, especially during a pandemic," Kaczmarek said the statement. "Now my staff can finally put the 2020 election to rest and focus their full attention on this year's upcoming elections."

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William White
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