Recount begins in Cabello, Vella race

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Jorge Paredes, right, assistant director of the Rockford Board of Elections, and Kyle Weber, a representative of Election Systems and Software, the company that makes the ballot counting machines, recount ballots at the Rockford Board of Elections office, 301 S. Sixth Street, on Tuesday during a discovery recount requested by state Rep. John Cabello after a narrow defeat.

ROCKFORD — John Cabello’s discovery recount commenced on Tuesday after a narrow loss to Rockford attorney David Vella in the Nov. 3 election.

Cabello, a Rockford police detective and four-term Republican state representative from Machesney Park, is asking for a recount in 25% of the precincts in the 68th District, which includes parts of Rockford and Winnebago County, as allowed under the law.

"There were 53,301 votes cast in the 68th District and virtually half of those votes were not for my opponent," Cabello said in a statement emailed to the Rockford Register Star. "I owe it to my supporters and the voters to proceed with the discovery recount and make sure that every vote was counted and that the will of the people prevails."

Cabello was defeated by 239 votes, with Vella winning 26,770 votes, or 50.2%, to Cabello’s 26,531 votes. 

Cabello has asked for the recount to proceed in precincts across the city located in Wards 2, 4, 9, 10, 12 and 14. He is also seeking a recount in eight precincts of Rockford Township just outside the city limits and in four precincts of Harlem Township. 

Elections officials and representatives of the ballot counting machine recount ballots at the Rockford Board of Elections office, 301 S. 6th Street, on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Rockford.

The recount can’t change the results in the 68th District race.

However, if it exposes a significant enough miscount or mistake, which is unlikely given the use of paper ballots and modern counting equipment, it could be used as the basis for Cabello to challenge the results in court and seek a full recount.

The discovery recount began on Tuesday at the Rockford Board of Election Commissioners and is expected to proceed Dec. 29 in Winnebago County.

In addition to election commissioners and staff, there will be observers from both Vella’s and Cabello’s campaign present for the discovery recount and inspection of ballots and voting documents.

It is expected to be a lengthy process, Rockford Elections Board Chairman Ryan Brauns said.

"I think it could easily take two full days just to sort the requested ballots for recount," Brauns said. "They aren’t looking at the entire jurisdiction. By law, they can only look at 25%. So they have requested specific wards and precincts. We have to pull out and sort those specific wards and precincts out of the tens of thousands of ballots that we have."

Jeff Kolkey: jkolkey@rrstar.com; @jeffkolkey

via Rockford Register Star

December 15, 2020 at 02:55PM

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