Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to include results and comments from the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

Theresa Kelly

In an effort to retain her seat on the board of education for the Proviso Township High School District 209, Theresa Kelly filed a discovery recount request with the Cook County Clerk’s Office, which was conducted on Wednesday, May 10. 

According to the Cook County Clerk’s Office Kelly submitted the request for a discovery recount on May 1. The Cook County Clerk’s Office said no “results” stem from the recount. 

“Our official certification done April 25 does not change,” said the clerk’s office. “It is simply a chance for a losing candidate to review the ballots with the hope they might ‘discover’ errors that could potentially change the results.” 

The certified election results confirmed Kelly had lost her seat on the board to newcomer Jennifer Barbahen by 12 votes during the April 4 elections. 

Kelly did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. 

According to the clerk’s office, 18 precincts in Proviso Township were recounted, costing $180, for which Kelly was financially responsible. 

Chicago based lawyer Michael Kasper represented Kelly. He served as the former general counsel for former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, currently pending a corruption trial. Kasper and his office were not able to be reached for comment. 

Under state law, Kelly was within her right to request the discovery recount as her vote total fell within the 95% range of Barbahen’s 4,811 votes. 

Barbahen said she was made aware of the filing before she, along with the rest of the Proviso 209 United slate was sworn in on May 4. She and a group of supporters attended the recount on Wednesday, held at the Cook County election facility in Cicero.

“We had about 18 volunteers that came with us to help be ‘watchers’ for the recount,” Barbahen said. “We had a lot of community support and volunteers with us today.” 

“The board of election said there was nothing really that happened at the end,” said Barbahen. “We went, we observed, and it did finish so we did conclude this afternoon.”

What happens next, well, that would be up to Kelly, said Barbahen. 

According to the county clerk’s office, if Kelly believes they observed enough errors, she can file a court case to contest the election, which would go before a judge to allow them to proceed in court. 

While waiting word of any additional steps Kelly might take to contest the election, Barbahen said she will continue to serve Proviso Township  high schools until further news, if any, is announced. 

Jenny Barbahen | Provided

“Karen Yarbrough [Cook County Clerk] and the Cook County elections division, they went through and certified the ballots and so I trust that the election board knows what they are doing and is doing it with accuracy and with transparency and accountability,” said Barbahen. “I trust the system.” 

The Proviso 209 Together slate will not let the discovery recount slow them down as they gear up for their first full meeting of the board of education on Tuesday May 16, It will be held at Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 Roosevelt Rd., Forest Park, at 7 p.m. 

“The business of the district has to continue, and it will continue with David (Ocampo), Sandra (Hixson) , and I,” Barbahen said. “We are excited to get in there. We are excited to do the work and we are ready. That doesn’t stop and that doesn’t get sidetracked because there was a discovery recount. We are ready to go.”