After four long months, the outcome of a contested write-in election for the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education finally reached its conclusion Monday.
Despite the fact a Cook County Circuit Court Judge ordered a recount of the April election results, Robert Jonak failed in his opportunity to overturn the write-in election of board member Humberto Andrade.
“All the votes were not actually recounted, but both parties had an opportunity to look at some of the questionable ballots,” said Judith Petrucci, Andrade’s attorney, who is also a member of the District 103 board. The board previously ruled that there was no conflict of interest in Petrucci representing Andrade. “There was concern about the admission of some votes, and there were mistakes made.
“We don’t know why those mistakes were made, but the judges at some precincts made mistakes. But the result from April stands.”
Jonak, a Lyons resident, filed a lawsuit asking for a recount of the write-in votes in 24 precincts in Dist. 103 after allegedly witnessing numerous irregularities and outright mistakes by election judges.
Jonak also alleged that polling places lacked pens for writing in votes and that some election judges didn’t even realize that there were write-in candidates until the end of the day.
“The overall feeling when both parties sat down to look at the ballots was that Mr. Jonak had the right to be concerned,” Petrucci said. “But it’s sort of a moot point now, because they are changing the voting process to touch screens. So things will be a lot different, and you won’t have to worry about things like this happening.”
Andrade, of Stickney, was declared the winner of the vacant four-year seat on the District 103 board after polls showed he received 146 votes to Jonak’s 93. District 103 serves students from five communities, including Brookfield, Lyons, Stickney, Forest View and McCook.
On May 23, Jonak officially filed his suit contesting the election, including sworn affidavits from 23 voters in two precincts where no votes were tallied for either write-in candidate.
“No one wanted it to come to litigation,” Petrucci said. “When you have an elected official sworn in, you want that to be the end.
“But here we were four months later, and we were still talking about who the winner should be. That doesn’t sound or look god. We’re just glad it’s over, so everyone can move forward.”
Lawrence Zdarsky, Jonak’s attorney, did not return calls seeking comment.