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Czerwinski, Richards still on top after recount

Four ballots found on floor at polls were counted, clerk says

Feb. 27, 2008

The allotment of votes in the mayoral primary changed slightly after a recount Feb. 25, but incumbent Al Richards and James Czerwinski still had the most votes.

The recount showed Richards received 1,242 votes, Czerwinski 744 and David Sopolinski 723. Both Richards and Sopolinski each received one fewer vote in the recount.

Unofficial results released Feb. 19, the day of the primary election, showed Richards with 1,243 votes, Czerwinski with 744, and Sopolinski with 724.

Sopolinski requested recount

City Clerk/Comptroller Anne Uecker said it appeared the change in results had to do with ballots submitted in the 3rd District. She said a machine may have been jammed.

"We really don't know what happened," she said.

It took more than nine hours to recount the votes. Officials started at 9 a.m. and finished at 6:25 p.m., Uecker said.

Common Council President and 3rd District alderman David Sopolinski requested the recount.

He said that when he ran for alderman in April 2006, his opponent requested a recount and gained 11 votes, but he still did not win the seat.

Because Sopolinski only lost the primary by 20 votes, he said a recount was necessary.

Ballots found on floor at polls

On Feb. 20, there were four ballots found on the floor of the St. Francis Community Center, one of the city's polling locations.

Sopolinski said some voters also voiced complaints about the city's system of documenting registered voters, and he claimed resident information is not being kept up-to-date.

Deputy City Clerk/Treasurer Jean DeMores said the ballots found on the floor most likely slipped out of the bags when they were collected from the polls.

"We're sure that they were counted," she said.

She said Sopolinski requested a recount before the ballots were found at the center.

As for the city's records of registered voters, DeMores said people who did not provide officials with the required information prior to the election may have been asked to re-register.

"When numerous people are applying, some things can be overlooked," she said.

If voters have not voted recently, their names could have been deleted from the system, she said.

When the city changed its designated polling locations, postcards were sent out to residents notifying them of the change. If a postcard was undeliverable, it was assumed the resident moved, and his or her name was taken out of the city's database.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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