Here’s the scoop from Defend the Vote‘s Sharon Merconi:
“The past couple of days were very busy!
“As workers in the political field know all too well, the period just after filing for the ballot is a crazy time in the election cycle.”
Here’s what happened last Wednesday with Meroni, Cleveland and Boulton v Obama:
[It] “is a direct challenge to Mr. Obama’s application for ballot placement in the March 20, 2012 Illinois Primary, based on defects in his signature petitions. The Objectors withdrew their challenge on Wednesday January 25th.
“President Obama’s filed application for the Illinois Primary was surprisingly sloppy, as the signature petitions had numerous defects.
“The President filed the maximum limit of 5000 signatures, and needed 3000 valid ones to get on the Illinois ballot.
“By law, petitions must be consecutively numbered; he had a 20 page gap.
“Some petitions were missing the circulator signature, and some were not notarized.
“More importantly, our preliminary review indicated a higher than expected number of signatures were not by registered Illinois voters, as is required.
“Only this objection would attack enough signatures to potentially keep Mr. Obama off the ballot.
“The others were valid, but insufficient in scope of signatures to block him from the ballot.
“Bottom line, he must have 3000 valid signatures out of 5000 filed, and we had only 7 calendar days to conduct a review.
“Right off the bat, we lost two days by the fact that our order for ballot petitions was ‘mishandled’ by the ISBE.
“Near the close of business on Friday, January 6, 2012, we received 60 disks of ballot petitions of various candidates as requested, but upon return to the office we found that the disk for Barack Obama’s petitions was . . . BLANK!!!
“The difference was crucial to our efforts to review the Obama petitions with a sound and double-checked database analysis. As it was, we filed the Objection to the Obama petitions with seven minutes to spare at 4:53 pm on January 13, 2012.
“During the records review of the petition signatures, held at Illinois State Board of Election offices in downtown Chicago, ISBE clerks called ‘Checkers,’ rule on each challenged voter signature on a line by line basis though comparison with ISBE records on computer screens.
“In this case, over 3,000 individual reviews had to occur.
“On respective sides of the Checker are single representatives of each party, who notes each ruling, and asserts the party’s position.
“After six hours of checking at eight computer terminals, a substantial ongoing effort by 40 Board employees and volunteers, we determined in the final stages of the records check that Mr. Obama had reclaimed sufficient signatures to cross the 3000 mark required for ballot placement.
“Through close review and extensive use of pocket calculators, we had to face the mathematical reality that the President was certain to prevail on the challenge, and consequently instructed our counsel to file papers to withdraw the Objection to avoid using additional hours of effort and time.
“No further action will follow.”