Part of several of the challenges to Independent petitions filed against current McHenry Township officials who were appointed or elected as Republicans, but who were not nominated at the Township Republican Caucus, was whether the Independents had enough petition signatures.
Those challenges filed by Republican Trustee candidate Bob Anderson aimed in that direction.
He pointed to
- printed names under a petition column asking for signatures
- ditto marks
Court cases were cited that pretty much said,
Folks in McHenry County, for instance, know that “McH” means “McHenry.”
And, as petition-defending attorney Jim Kelly pointed out, to challenge the number of signatures on a petition, one must put in the challenging document the number of good signatures needed.
It was not until Steve Rooney petition challenging Craig Wallace’s candidacy that things got interesting.
Steve Verr, GOP candidate for Supervisor and Chairman of McHenry Township Republicans, stepped in as an attorney to assist Rooney.
In questioning McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan, it came out that there are two ways to compute the number of signatures requited.
5% of some number of votes from the last township election is what the law seems to say.
McClellan, with the advice of the attorney of the Illinois State Board of Elections, interpreted that language as being 5% of the number of votes that McHenry Township Supervisor Donna Schaefer, running unopposed in 2013.
Schaefer received 5,533 voters.
Multiply that by 5% and one gets 277 signatures needed.
Verr pointed out, however, that more than 5,533 people cast ballots.
About 1,500 did not cast a ballot for Schaefer.
Those are called “undervotes” on the canvass.
Add the undervotes to the votes for Schaefer and the total number of people voting that day comes out to be 7,097.
5% of that would mean that 355 signatures would be needed on an Independent petition.
Does Craig Wallace have that many signatures?
That will be determined by the McHenry Township Electoral Board on Thursday.
But, even if Wallace cannot meet the higher signature requirement, McClellan cited a court case (Merz v Volberding 94 ILL App. 3d 1111) that says a candidate may rely on the number of signatures needed provided by an election authority like the McHenry County Clerk.
= = = = =
Here’s another reason to follow my advice to get twice as many signatures as you think you need.