Chance's recount argument is 'expression of hope,' lawyer says

By Steve Korris | Nov 22, 2013

Former Caseyville mayor George Chance has not pleaded enough facts to warrant a recount of the April 9 election, according to mayor Leonard Black.

Black moved to dismiss Chance’s recount petition on Oct. 29, claiming Chance can’t show that a recount would result in a different outcome.

Village attorney Michael Gras described Chance’s prediction of a different outcome as “an expression of hope.”

Chance sued Black and former county clerk Bob Delaney after Delaney certified 576 votes for Black and 572 for Chance.

Chance claimed Black and his agents engaged in forgery and other improper activities.

He claimed Delaney counted ballots he should have rejected, and rejected ballots he should have counted.

He accused five voters of improper registration.

Former village attorney Alvin Paulson filed the suit, but withdrew due to a conflict of interest after Delaney resigned.

Chance then retained Kevin Kaufhold.

Black demanded more particular allegations, and Kaufhold responded with new details including accusations of improper registration against six more voters.

According to Gras, Kaufhold’s response fell short of standards for a recount.

“While petitioner makes sure to include in his laundry list of election irregularities every boiler plate allegation possible in a contest action, he fails to plead how any of these alleged irregularities affected the election,” Gras wrote.

He wrote that while Chance pleads that persons voted who were not supposed to vote, he doesn’t allege who they voted for.

He also wrote that while Chance pleads that qualified voters weren’t permitted to vote, he doesn’t allege who they would have voted for.

A petitioner, he wrote, must allege mistakes or fraud in specified precincts.

“Here, the petition does not specify the precincts in which petitioner believes a mistake or fraud has occurred nor does his prayer for relief specify the precincts in which a recount is desired,” Gras wrote.

“It is not enough to allege a long list of possible irregularities and say they occurred in a group of possible precincts.

“When it cannot be determined for whom unqualified voters voted, the number of votes cast by unqualified voters must be apportioned to the candidates in that proportion which the number of votes cast for each candidate bears to the total number of votes cast in the precinct.

“This is especially problematic in this instance because Leonard Black won two of the listed precincts and George Chance won one.”

He wrote that if all the challenged voters were in the precinct Chance won, Chance’s own vote total would be decreased.

Delaney remains a defendant in the proceedings but hasn’t participated.

St. Clair County hasn’t participated but apparently stands in Delaney’s place, for Gras served his motion on assistant state’s attorney Lisa Porter.

Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson presides over the petition.

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