A losing candidate who has election results totaling at least 95 percent of a winning candidate has the statutory right to a discovery recount.
The discovery recount allows a losing candidate to petition the Cook County Clerk’s office to recount the ballots in up to 25 percent of the precincts within the relevant jurisdiction. An eligible candidate must file the petition for discovery recount with the Cook County Clerk’s office within five days after the last day for the proclamation of results. The petition must list the precincts the petitioner wishes to have recounted and include a payment of $10 per precinct. (Election Code §§22-9.1, 24A-15.1)
Example: In a race with three trustee vacancies, if the third place candidate received 100 votes and the candidate in fourth place received 96, the candidate in fourth place has the right to a discovery recount. If that candidate received only 94 votes he or she would have no statutory right to a discovery recount.
If a candidate wishes to contest the results of an election, he or she must file a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County. This lawsuit is known as a petition for election contest. The petition for election contest must be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court within thirty days of the proclamation of results by the local canvassing board. The Cook County Clerk’s office is now the canvassing board. (Election Code §23-20)
Example: The County Clerk’s office declared the election results on April 25th, a losing candidate who wishes to contest the results must put together a petition for election contest and file it with the Clerk of the Circuit Court by May 25th.
This is not legal advice. The Cook County Clerk’s office is providing this for general information purposes only. Candidates interested in filing a petition for either a discovery recount or an election contest should seek legal advice from an election attorney. The Cook County Clerk’s office cannot recommend an attorney or give legal advice on these matters.