Long-Time Caseyville Mayor Loses By 4 Votes; Challenging Results

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CASEYVILLE, IL (KTVI)-- A call for a recount.  George Chance, the long-time Caseyville, Illinois mayor, who lost by four votes in the April election, is challenging the results.

The final tally was 576-572 in favor of new Mayor Leonard Black; a margin of less than  1/3rd of 1%.

St. Clair County election officials said they'd had even tighter races, but never had one reversed for at least the past 30 years.

Still, the numbers didn`t add up for Chance anymore.

"I lost by 4 votes," said Chance, whose first term as Mayor of Caseyville came during Ronald Reagan`s first as President of the United States.

Aside from 4 years from 1989-1993, he was the Mayor of Caseyville`s; 27 years total.

"To lose by four votes! If I lost by 40, I`d be fishing with my grandsons," he said.

Instead he`s going to court to get his seat back from the new Mayor of Caseyville, Leonard Black.

Black admitted, had he lost by four votes, he might do the same thing.

"I probably would. I don`t hold that against Mr. Chance. I would probably do the same thing. It`s close enough that it`s reasonable. Four is not many. I wish I had more but I don`t," he laughed.

The police chief scandal was a key issue in the campaign. Chance suspended Chief J.D. Roth the month before the election amid a federal investigation into allegations of corruption against Roth.

But it`s a paid suspension.

Chance said it was a case of `innocent until proven guilty.`  Mayor Black said the suspension should be 'unpaid.' He even handed out bars of soap during the campaign, pledging to clean up the town.

Both agreed the race was about numbers, not politics now. Chance believed the numbers would be there in a full recount.

After all, he made a late surge when absentee ballots were counted after election night.

"I was down by 12. Then I ended up losing by four. That`s pretty close," he grinned.

"This is almost worse than the whole campaign itself," Black lamented. "Here it is a month after the election and I just don`t know really if I won or not. I feel comfortable now that the four votes will stand up."

There is no automatic recount here.  Under state law, Chance was entitled to a "discovery recount" Monday, where the two men candidates and their attorneys reviewed 25% of the ballots.

Chance said he turned up a vote, making the margin "3".
He also said there were other "irregularities".

Black said he could make the same case. Chance will now ask a judge to order a total recount.

For now, Black is the Mayor of Caseyville.

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