Caseyville mayor wants recount; Belleville alderman race results confirmed

News-DemocratMay 6, 2013 

The longtime mayor of Caseyville, who lost his re-election bid in March by four votes, has decided to contest the results of the balloting and ask for a full recount, while the results in one close Belleville aldermanic race remained unchanged.

George Chance's attorney Al Paulson asked for a discovery recount that was held Monday morning in a small conference room on the second floor of the St. Clair County Courthouse. They combed over regular, absentee and provisional ballots from three Caseyville precinct, or about 25 percent of the vote.

"We're going to file to contest the election," Paulson said. "We found one missing ballot in the first precinct. All you need to do is pick up one vote in each precinct and that would be more than enough to change the results."

Meanwhile, another recount Monday afternoon confirmed the results in the Belleville Ward 2 alderman race of the April 9 election.

Incumbent Dorothy Meyer lost by two votes, 316-314, to Janet Kay Schmidt. Meyer's request for a discovery recount of ballots from Belleville Precinct 18 did not yield new results Monday.

"There was no change," Schmidt said. "My opponent graciously conceded and she congratulated me. Now I feel like I can really concentrate on the job."

Former Caseyville Village Clerk Leonard Black, who has been sworn in and is already serving as Caseyville's chief elected official, said he thought the proceedings Monday morning were fair. But he said he still expects to be the winner if all the votes are recounted.

"It's been a struggle all the way through," Black said. "And we'll keep on fighting all the way until the end. I still think I am going to be the winner.

Chance trailed Black by 12 votes on the on the night of the April 9 election. Two weeks later after provisional and absentee ballots were counted, Chance trailed 576-572.

Under state law the losing candidate in a close election can ask for a discovery recount in which they can sample ballots from up to 25 precincts.

According to St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney, the candidate can use information from that partial recount to decide if he thinks there is enough evidence to prove a full recount is merited.

The discovery recount has no bearing on the outcome of the election, Delaney said.

Chance said, in addition to the ballot that apparently wasn't counted in Precinct 6, he has reason to believe some provisional ballots in his favor should have been counted. Chance said his nephew's ballot was rejected because of a discrepancy with his signature. And, even after he came to the courthouse, showed identification and vouched for the ballot, it was still not counted.

Other candidates who have asked for discovery recounts are:

* Rob Dorman, who lost 56-53 to Karen Woolard in the Collinsville City Council member race. The recount will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

* Tim Carpenter, who lost 289-286, to Johnnie Anthony in the Belleville Ward 4 alderman race. The recount will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

* Clyde Jackson, who lost 790-789, to Stephen Mitchell in the Canteen Township trustee race. The recount will be at 10 a.m. Friday.

* Steven Arriola, who lost 219-212, to Michael Fiudo in the Village of Fairmont City trustee race. The recount will be at 1 p.m. Friday.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or 239-2626.

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