Candidates in Vermilion, Douglas Co Races Seek Ballot Review

November 19, 2010

Two candidates for countywide office in east-central Illinois don't want the election to be over yet. They suffered narrow defeats in the November 2nd election, and are taking the first step towards a possible recount.

The step provided under Illinois law is called discovery. Douglas County Sheriff candidate Fred Galey filed for a discovery inspection, which County Clerk Jim Ingram has scheduled for this coming Wednesday at his office at the courthouse in Tuscola.

"(Galey) is requesting that the ballots, the ballot box and voting machines be examined, and that any of the automatic tabulating equipment be tested, and the ballots and recorded votes be counted," Ingram said.

That process will be done for four precincts selected by Galey out of the 19 precincts in Douglas County. Under state law, the discovery process allows a review of ballots in up to 25 percent of a county's precincts. Ingram said he won't conduct the discovery himself, but will instead use the same vendors that provide election services to Douglas County.

The official ballot count in Douglas County shows Galey, an independent candidate, losing to incumbent Republican sheriff Charlie McGrew by 39 votes. Meanwhile, the balloting in Vermilion County shows Republican county clerk candidate Dennis Miller losing to incumbent Democrat Lynn Foster by just one vote. Miller says he also plans to file for discovery, once the vote is officially certified. Marietta West, who heads election services in Clerk Foster's office in Vermilion County, said certification is expected on Monday.

In both races, it is the petitioning candidates who pays for the discovery inspection, and it is up to them to decide if the discovery provides grounds enough to pay the additional expense of asking a judge to order a full recount. Douglas County Clerk Ingram said discoveries rarely lead to recounts. However, Miller, the Vermilion County sheriff's candidate, said he thinks his chances of convincing a judge might be better, because he only needs evidence of one discrepancy to offset his one-vote defeat.

Story source: WILL