When I ran for the Republican Party nomination for McHenry County Treasurer at age 24, there were three candidates.
Out of grad school less than two years, I quit my Civil Service job in the Budget Bureau (now called the Office of Management and Budget), came home with $1,800 in savings and took on the two candidates that each of the Woodstock banks were backing.
Those backing Gene Brewer and Ray Murphy didn’t figure out that I had a chance until it was two late to send signals to the two halves of the Establishment that all support should be shifted to one candidate.
The result was I won by 72 votes.
The spread among the three candidates was 277 votes.
The second place finisher filed for a recount.
I guess he figured that I was young an idealistic and would say, “OK.”
Paper ballots were in use then and my campaign supporters fanned across the county to watch the vote counting.
I remember being told that the judges at the Seneca Township Hall (one township precinct then) had never seen a watcher before.
We discovered irregularities and documented them, so we were ready to counterattack if a recount were ordered.
The hearing was held in Judge Carroll’s courtroom on the second floor of the Old Courthouse.
A judge was brought in from Lake County to sit in the case.
The challenger’s attorney made his pitch and sat down.
He presented no evidence.
Stan Narusis, who was Republican Precinct Committeeman in Algonquin 10 near Downtown Crystal Lake, represented me. His brother Bernie, still a Precinct Committeeman had run for State’s Attorney against Richard Cross in 1964 when my father was running for County Auditor against the County Board Chairman Harley Mackeben. (Both outsiders lost, my father by about 300 votes.)
I leaned over to Stan and said, “He didn’t present any evidence. Why don’t you more to dismiss?”
Stan did and, after beating the woman running as a Democrat, was elected County Treasurer.
Since the preliminary results became know, Undersheriff Andy Zinke and his supporters have been debating whether or not to call for a recount.
Because the contest was so close, Zinke can pretty much automatically get what is called a “discovery recount.”
By paying a minimum fee ($10 a precinct, I think), he can have ballots from 10% of the precincts run through a counting machine again.
It is unlikely that a new machine count will vary much, if at all, from the original results.
To get a full recount, Zinke must prove he has a chance of overturning the election.
To be more precise, a losing candidate must allege facts which, if true and proved, will reverse the election result.
And those supporting Bill Prim would be able to present counter evidence.
A Friend of McHenry County Blog looked into the absentee voting. Here is what he wrote yesterday:
“I was surprised that there were 3,700 absentee ballots, an amount equal to 13% of the total votes cast.
“That seemed like a lot to me, so I called the McHenry County Clerk to see what the average is. She was out. With luck I’ll hear back tomorrow.
“But, just for grins, I called the Kane County Clerk, and was told they had 37,574 people vote, and 416 of those were absentee ballots. That would be 1.1% of the total votes.
“So McHenry County had twelve times as many absentee voters (as a percent of total votes cast) as Kane County.
“And I see that while Mr. Zinke got 49.2% of the votes cast at the ballot box, he got 55.0% of the absentee ballots. [Emphasis added.]”That is a big difference.
“It implies to me that Mr. Zinke was probably very active in making sure people got absentee ballots.”
Some have said that Zinke was seen at the county’s Valley Hi Nursing Home in uniform prior to the election…more than once.
I am sure there would be depositions taken, if that was the case.