How To Figure Out How Many Signatures Are Needed to Run as an Independent for Township Office

Bob Anderson

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
  • abbreviations

Court cases were cited that pretty much said,

“No problem.”

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.

Steve Verr questions McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan.

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.


How To Figure Out How Many Signatures Are Needed to Run as an Independent for Township Office — 8 Comments

  1. Is it Me or does Bob Anderson look like a Lousy version of Governor Rauner.

  2. Does that mean in a four way race, one would only have to submit 5% of the winner’s vote totals (rather than the sum of all votes cast in a race)?


  3. Having to give the following advice: “to get twice as many signatures as you think you need” is part of the problem.

    If people wish to get involved and actively take part in their local government(s), then it should be good public policy to make that as easy and as simple as possible.

    Instead, we have made the rules extremely difficult and nearly indecipherable, even for the “experts”.

    Is it any wonder then that many ballot positions have no candidates? Who wants to run the legal minefield set up just to even get on the ballot?

    Shouldn’t it be EASY for a citizen to get their name on a ballot?

    Shouldn’t we let the public decide who gets elected rather than “insiders” using lawfare techniques to disqualify candidates (or their competition) because of how the petitions were stapled or whether abbreviations were used or the other myriad technicalities argued at these reviews?

    Perhaps Mr. Skillicorn at the state level or Mr. Gasser at the county level could introduce Ballot Simplification rules changes to eliminate this nonsense.

    I think we need to eliminate the arbitrary, artificial erected barriers that prevents good people from serving their communities.

  4. You want to serve you add your name to the ballot and pray that this incompetent woman does not have to count anything!

  5. McClellan is starting to sound like a just another corrupt politico!

  6. Rickey, You are obviously missing the point here.

    Skillicorn gets sworn in tomorrow and he will lead the way with No accountability.

    On the other hand, the Clerk has upheld the laws of Illinois with honor and gets attacked.

    Maybe McClellan should be our state representative!

  7. Just get rid of all election laws and have Clerk McClelland decide what the number should be!

    In fact get rid of the legislature and all written laws and just have McClelland dictate what we should say, think and do. She’s the ‘Decider!’ …. and we are her ‘little people’ who must obey her her dictates!

    She’s quite honest you see:

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