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updated: 3/5/2013 4:26 PM

Island Lake squabble delays ballot printing

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  • Charles Amrich

      Charles Amrich

 
 

The Lake County and McHenry County clerk's offices will not print the Island Lake ballot until a pair of hearings are held Thursday to decide whether Charles Amrich will be allowed to run for mayor.

Attorneys for Amrich and the village of Island Lake will appear before Lake County Judge Margaret Mullen at 3 p.m. to determine whether Amrich's name should legally appear on the April 9 election ballot. Mullen's decision will come after an 11 a.m. electoral board decision that also could set Amrich's fate. Two local activists are again trying to keep Amrich off the ballot.

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If they are successful, incumbent Mayor Debbie Herrmann would be the lone candidate.

"Hopefully, this will all get worked out Thursday," said John Fogerty, Amrich's attorney.

Fogerty filed the request to have Mullen order Village Clerk Connie Mascillino to add Amrich as a candidate. He's also trying to prevent the Lake County and McHenry County clerks from printing ballots without his name. The village is divided between the two counties.

Mascillino and Herrmann are running as part of a slate opposing Amrich's slate in the April 9 election.

Herrmann, the town's mayor since 2009, wasn't in court Tuesday and declined to comment when reached by phone.

Amrich didn't attend Tuesday's hearing, either. When reached afterward by telephone, he said -- as he has many times before -- that the people of Island Lake should have a choice for mayor on Election Day.

And once again he criticized the people trying to ensure Herrmann is the lone candidate.

"Some people will do anything to keep me off the ballot here," he said.

Trustee Thea Morris will lead the three-member electoral board when it meets Thursday. She was a member of the electoral board that knocked Amrich off the ballot Feb. 4 because of a $174 debt to the village that he hadn't paid when he signed key candidate paperwork in mid-December. That debt has since been paid and no longer is an issue.

Morris is aware the eyes of Island Lake will be on her and her peers.

"I just look forward to the electoral hearings going forward smoothly and quickly so we can come to a fair conclusion to the situation," she said.

Under state law, a slate of candidates is allowed to nominate someone to fill a slot that has unexpectedly opened during a campaign. It's the clerk's job to then submit an amended list of candidates to the county clerk, which oversees elections.

After Amrich was knocked off the ballot last month, his name was resubmitted to be a member of the "For the People" slate.

But, Mascillino -- on advice from the village attorney -- did not resubmit Amrich's name to the county clerks' offices. That prompted the legal action against Mascillino.

In the meantime, county clerks in Lake and McHenry counties cannot start printing the April 9 election ballot, a process that should have already begun due to laws surrounding early and absentee voting.

"It will be a hardship for us," said Cindy Pagano of the Lake County clerks office. "But we will do our best to comply with the legal deadline."

• Daily Herald staff writer Russell Lissau contributed to this report.

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