Local names on Green Party petition challenged

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11533342702715.jpg’, ”, ‘David Black’);

Despite challenges to signatures on a candidate’s petition, the Green Party of Illinois is more than ready to get its slate of candidates on the November ballot. According to Jennifer Rose, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney’s campaign manager, the party presented nearly 39,400 vetted signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections March 28.

State law only requires new parties to submit 25,000 signatures. Green Party Attorney General candidate David Black of Belvidere explained that 25,000 signatures are being challenged arbitrarily. According to Rose, state law states at least two citizens can challenge the signatures. Those citizens are Country Club Hills Ald. Kevin Williams and Raython Bailey of Homewood.

Challenged signatures include those of United Methodist Church’s the Rev. Ray Rhoads, Rockford Urban Ministries Executive Director Stanley Campbell, Crusader Clinic’s Linda Niemiec, The Rock River Times Editor & Publisher Frank Schier as well as Rockford civic leaders Jack and Colleen Holmbeck.

According to the City of Rockford Board of Elections, all but Rhoads are active voters. He was apparently deleted from the voter rolls before 2003.

Green Party Attorney Andy Speigel filed a motion to dismiss the challenges. Black explained that the Green Party of Illinois, for which he serves as secretary, is prepared to do a binder check—a thorough review of all 25,000 signatures. “It’d be kind of history-making,” he noted.

According to a press release, the next board of elections hearing is July 20, and final decision is slated for mid-August.

Rose alleged Williams and Bailey have strong ties to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections Web site, Williams ran as an independent in 1999 for his Country Club Hills City Council seat.

“It’s really frivolous, and it is intended to waste our time and resources,” Rose said.

Black analyzed 200 signatures in the Rockford area. He said the objections were done at random, based on allegations they weren’t registered to vote at the given address. Despite objections, Black said he’s confident “their signatures will eventually survive the challenge process.”

Black asserted his involvement with the party and decision to run for office wasn’t driven by personal ambition, rather a desire to help provide an alternative for voters.

“The (Republicans and Democrats) do what they’ve always done,” Black explained.

The Green Party is different than the other two parties because it doesn’t accept corporate contributions.

If elected, Black hopes to make the justice system more fair, particularly for minorities.

In addition to Whitney and Black, the Green Party slate consists of Lt. Gov. candidate Julie Samuels of Oak Park, Secretary of State candidate Karen Young of Chicago, Treasurer candidate the Rev. Dan Rodriguez-Schlorff of Chicago and Comptroller candidate Alicia Snyder of Centralia.

From the July 19-25, 2006, issue

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