Write-in candidate Dan Sodaro lost three more votes during a ballot canvass at the Cook County Clerk’s office Thursday afternoon, falling 11 short of Trustee Bob Streit in the 3rd District village board trustee .
Sodaro stunned the opposition in the April 5 election when he managed to garner 701 write-in votes after he got tossed off the ballot when an was filed against his nominating petitions because of irregularities with his circulators.
As it stands, Thursday’s canvass puts Streit at 738, Sodaro at 727. The results are still unofficial.
The , which was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Thursday, was 15 minutes late in getting started. Two pairs of county clerk employees read the results back and forth to each other of all of the races including the 3rd District trustee, library board trustees, park board commissioners, and the and District 229 school board races. All of the tallies were compared to the tabulated results to ensure that election judges had counted the votes correctly.
County employees, overseen by Deputy Director of Elections Noah Praetz, also canvassed early voting and absentee ballots cast in the 3rd District.
The candidates and their election attorneys, a reporter, and other guests, including attorneys Dennis Brennan and Burt Odelson, watched the 3rd District canvass. Oak Lawn Village Board Trustee Jerry Hurckes also stopped by for part of the canvass.
James Nally, Streit’s election attorney, said that a majority of the time the canvass remains the same as the unofficial numbers.
“Most of the time, the numbers don’t change,” Nally said.
At the end of the roughly 60-minute process, Sodaro fell 11 short, losing three more votes, bringing his total count to 727.
Three votes were lost because of a reporting error, Nally said.
“Right now Mr. Streit is the winner,” Nally said. “It’s going in the right direction for him.”
In the 35th precinct at the polling place, where some 3rd District voters were reportedly given ballots for the 5th District race, Sodaro garnered 16 “paper” ballots that were scanned by an optic scanner, and 38 touch screen write-in votes where voters had typed in Sodaro’s name on a keyboard. Sodaro also earned seven early write-in votes, bringing the total to 60.
A Cook County Clerk spokeswoman adjusted the number of voters who may have been impacted by the 3rd District ballot error from “a maximum of 12 voters impacted” to two voters who may have voted in the wrong district. Still, it wasn’t enough for Sodaro, who began the afternoon already down by eight votes.
Nally said that Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office, which oversees suburban Cook County elections, canvasses all election results, which is a provision of state election statutes.
“Very rarely does it have the audience that it did today,” Nally said. “It’s pretty routine. There is a canvass for elections where someone wins by 10,000 votes. It’s done for every election.”
Still outstanding are two absentee ballots that still have not been physically received by the county clerk’s office. A total of 11 absentee ballots were requested by 3rd District voters in the April 5 election; nine of those ballots have been entered into the unofficial tally. The outstanding absentee ballots have until next Tuesday to reach the county clerk’s office, provided both are postmarked before midnight April 4.
“Barring something happening with the two absentee ballots, this is something the clerk would certify as a result of the election,” Nally said.
Asked if he was relieved that it was over, Streit replied: “I always had confidence in the county’s numbers.”
Sodaro left immediately after the canvass to meet with his attorneys, Richard Means, of the Means Law Offices, and Tiffany Nelson-Jaworski, of Chicago-based Ancel Glink.
Because he fell within 95 percent of the winning number of votes, the losing candidate in the 3rd District race, in this instance, Sodaro, can request a discovery recount. A discovery recount counts votes cast in 25 percent or two of the district’s eight precincts.
Sodaro said that he thought the county clerk’s office did thorough job.
“You never want to lose a vote. It could have been a much worse scenario,” Sodaro said Thursday evening. “I’m happy that people knew how to vote for me and went and did it. That much was evident today. There weren’t any questions about the spelling of names. It was evidence that those votes were mine.”
Up until now, Sodaro said, everything has been hypothetical.
“It’s been hypothetical numbers and early votes verses those in precincts [on April 5],” Sodaro said. I have the data now to look at the irregularities and see where they came from. I have a lot of information to digest and sort through the precincts.”
Sodaro still has a few weeks to decide whether he will pursue a discovery recount.
“I have until May 2 to request a discovery recount and pick my two precincts,” he said. “If nothing else this is proof of the old adage that every vote does count and I’m going to make sure that every one of them is counted.”