Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Redistricting Amendment in jeopardy before State Board of Elections

The Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment may never make it on this year's ballot. Both the Sun-Times Early & Often site and the Tribune's Clout Street report this morning that the Illinois State Board of Elections' initial review of the 507,467 signatures submitted in order to get the amendment before the voters has found 54% of the signatures to be invalid.

The linked articles indicate that the ISBE is required to conduct a review of 5% of the signatures submitted. In this review, only 46% of the signatures were deemed valid. If this rate is projected to the petition as a whole, it will fall well short of the 298,400 valid signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.

Rick Pearson's Clout Street post notes that, "This year marked the first time that the State Board of Elections had conducted the signature validation requirement in-house per a change in the law. In prior years, local county clerks were charged with overseeing the signature checks." According to Dave McKinney's Early & Often post, the group sponsoring the amendment "now has seven business days to go through the 13,807 signatures that the state board deemed invalid and attempt to prove they are, in fact, the names of registered voters who live at the address they indicated on the group’s petitions." In both posts, Michael Kolenc, the campaign manager for the amendment, is quoted as being confident that the amendment will qualify for the ballot.

If the amendment does qualify for the November ballot, a suit is already pending to knock it right back off. The case is Clark v. Board of Election Commissioners, et al., 14 CH 7356. Election attorney Michael J. Kasper represents the plaintiffs in this matter, a who's-who roster that includes retired Commonwealth Edison CEO Frank Clark; housing developer Elzie Higginbottom, Jr.; community organizer Rev. Leon Finney; and Craig Chico, the President and CEO of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (and brother of former Illinois State Board of Education Chairman, mayoral candidate, and prominent Rauner supporter, Gery Chico).

Updated to provide additional information.

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