Will Guzzardi isn’t giving up in his quest to unseat the Boss’s Daughter. With all precincts reporting, Guzzardi, a former Huffington Post editor, was trailing state Rep. Toni Berrios by 125 votes in their race for the Democratic nomination for 39th District State Representative.
In a March 22 interview with Ward Room, Guzzardi said he was not conceding, because “we want to make sure every vote is counted.”
Today, Guzzardi announced he plans to pursue a recount, claiming “indiscretions or irregularities” at polling places, especially those “with a strong Machine presence.”
Guzzardi told Ward Room that in some precincts, his poll watchers were not allowed to examine lists of voters who had cast ballots; in the 31st Ward, a Berrios campaign volunteer was allowed to handle the poll list, "which no poll watcher is supposed to do."
Berrios’s father, Joe Berrios, is 31st Ward committeeman and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Toni Berrios won the 31st Ward, 1,313-735, as well as the 30th Ward, where Berrios family ally Ariel Reboyras is alderman and committeeman. Guzzardi won the 1st, 26th, 35th, 38th and 45th wards, but none with more than 58 percent of the vote.
“We are committed to ensuring that every single vote is counted accurately,” Guzzardi said in a statement. “At the end of the recount process, we may have won, or we may fall short. But we owe it to the people of this district who showed up to vote to make sure their voices are fully heard.”
In Illinois, trailing candidates are entitled to request a “discovery recount” if they receive 95 percent of the leader’s vote total, a standard Guzzardi meets. In a discovery recount, a candidate can ask to recanvass up to 25 percent of precincts, at a cost of $10 per precinct. After that, if a candidate still believes he can win, he can go to court to contest the election. That requires a $10,000 filing fee, and $50 per precinct or $75,000, whichever is less.
Guzzardi said that most precincts for which he requests a recount will be in the 31st Ward.
The most famous recount in American history was former Vice President Al Gore’s contest of the vote in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. Gore’s campaign manager? Bill Daley. Ward Room is looking forward to the Cook County Democratic Party explaining why that recount was justified, but this one isn’t.