By Andersen Xia
Aldermanic challenger Byron Sigcho filed a petition for a vote recount in the 25th Ward, wishing to push incumbent Alderman Danny Solis under 50 percent of vote and into a runoff.
“We see that it’s like one or two votes that each precinct only has to take to swift the election and to get the incumbent out of the runoff,” Sigcho said Tuesday, adding that he wants a recount to ensure all votes are counted.
According to the unofficial summary report released by the Chicago Board of Elections, Solis, so far, has 50.95 percent of the vote to meet what he needs to retain his alderman’s seat. However, there are only 70 votes separating him and Sigcho, who finished second in the Feb. 24 election.
Sigcho said he was suspicious of “the casting and counting of ballots” because of some “irregularities” that he and his volunteers witnessed throughout the city elections.
“They have excluded me,” said Miriam De Paz, a poll watcher at the 9th Precinct at St. Ann Catholic School in Pilsen, who was also one of Sigcho’s campaign volunteers. She blamed the judges for shutting down her operation despite her having official credentials.
Spokesman of the Chicago Board of Elections, Jim Allen, declined to comment until the case has been reviewed in the courtroom.
Sigcho also accused the Chinese American Service League, a prominent Chinatown nonprofit organization, of engaging in “improper electioneering,” which Sigcho said included facilitating the seniors’ transportation after making senior houses off limits to him but not to Solis.
“We have already known that they had only one person who was able to speak and then we see you sending buses to take the same seniors to vote,” Sigcho said. “We know how those votes are gonna go.”
CASL President Bernie Wong denied the denouncements. She said Sigcho had never contacted her for access to any particular place, and CASL did not decline Solis’s visit in Chinatown’s senior houses because “he came in not as a candidate.”
Also, Wong said there was no manipulation during the ride provided to the seniors.
“It’s totally legitimate, totally legal.” Wong said. “We didn’t tell them whom to vote; We just told them to vote.”
Sigcho and Wong had a similar confrontation three weeks ago after Sigcho addressed an email to Linda Yu, an ABC news anchor and also the nonprofit’s advisory board chairwoman, alleging that CASL had engaged in “partisan politics” on behalf of Solis. The claim was refuted by Wong, who later demanded a full retraction of the statement in his letter.
After numerous phone calls and emails, Solis’ campaign could not be reached for comment.
Under the city rule, the petition will open a process of discovery in which an initial eight priority precincts will be recounted by the Board before a judge decides for a full recount. Sigcho said he expects the final decision to come out by the March 10 deadline for absentee ballots.