Calloway asks for recount in 10 precincts of 5th Ward

As his attorney Liz Homsy (right) and supporters listen, 5th Ward Aldermanic Candidate William Calloway speaks with the media after his petition for a recount in the 5th Ward Aldermanic runoff election. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Staff writer

DALEY CENTER — The Board of Election Commissioners today proclaimed Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) the winner in the April 2 runoff against William Calloway, 6,849 votes (50.65%) to 6,673 (49.35%), but Calloway requested a discovery recount. Posting to Facebook later today, Calloway said he would ask for a recount “and, if necessary, an entire new special election” following its completion.

Calloway and his attorney, Liz Homsy, appeared in county court today before Judge Laguina Clay-Herron for a hearing on his request for a discovery recount in 10 precincts. Homsy said the precincts would be named in their not-yet-filed petition.

“We’ve seen some discrepancies in the last election; we think a discovery recount is merited,” Homsy said. “We’re going to move forward with that. We’ll see what that brings up.”

In court, Adam W. Lasker, the attorney for the Elections Board, said that the discovery recount would conclude by next April 25. He said the board would file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit should Calloway amend his complaint. Both sides will meet before Clay-Herron on May 2 at 11:30 a.m. for a status hearing once the results of the discovery recount are known.

According to Calloway’s complaint filed earlier this month, the Elections Board identified “obvious discrepancies” in the number of ballots cast in the 8th Precinct, roughly between Lake Park and Dorchester avenues and 55th and 57th streets, and ordered a re-tabulation of votes that returned 374 instead of the originally counted 281. Calloway believes that similar errors in other precincts remain unrecognized, hence his decision to push for a discovery recount.

Asked about the specific discrepancies, Homsy reiterated the allegations in their initial complaint, “a few judicial discrepancies as far as whether or not judges were present on-site in a variety of other precincts.” The complaint specifically listed the 28th and 34th precincts in the Jackson Park Highlands and southeastern Hyde Park, respectively, as having had polling places not staffed by qualified election judges.

“A certain number of judges are required to be on-site for Election Day,” Homsy said. “Also, it makes it very difficult to monitor these sorts of elections when you don’t have sufficient staff.”

Calloway said he was asking for the recount for both his and Hairston’s benefit, calling it “the way we can ensure that this democratic process is protected and that every vote is accounted for.”

“We’re going to see what other precincts hold,” Calloway said. “I feel we have a fair judge from what I can tell, I feel that the Board of Elections’ general counsel is doing their best to cooperate with us, and I feel that the opposition’s attorney is being respectful. So, as of right now, I feel content, but I feel confident that we won and that when we get down … and weed out all the human errors that happened on election night and other election law procedures that might possibly have been violated, I will come out the certified winner of the 5th Ward.”

Freelancer Marc Monaghan contributed.