Review of 7,500 signatures on District 15 petition is complete

Posted5/8/2010 12:01 AM

The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 electoral board is expected to reconvene soon in order to determine the validity of a petition that forces the district's $27 million bond issue to a referendum.

Several representatives for both the petition proponents and objectors spent about three days earlier this week matching each signature to the Cook County Clerk's office database.

Of the roughly 7,500 signatures, a clerk's office staffer found 6,663 of them were valid - or 324 above the minimum needed, said Richard Means, an attorney for the petition proponents.

"At this point in the process it appears we're ahead of our requirement and that we're going to prevail," Means said.

But attorney James Nally, who's representing two petition objectors, said late Friday he's still awaiting clarification from the clerk's office because a second report indicated the total number of valid signatures was only 34 people over the minimum.

"That's obviously a big difference and we need to find out which report is the correct one," Nally said.

The petition proponents are working to provide themselves with a bigger cushion by tracking down people with contested signatures so they can sign affidavits confirming they did in fact sign the petition.

In some of those cases, signatures were deemed invalid because a person printed his or her name. Other people had gotten married or divorced, so their surnames didn't match their voter registration cards, Means said.

Nally said he expects to present evidence at the hearing questioning whether there are enough valid signatures, as well as the validity of the petition form. He also said the petition wasn't filed within the required time frame - within 30 days of publication of the bond notice in the local newspaper.

Means said the law states that should a deadline for an act dealing with a government unit fall on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, it's extended to the next day.

No date has been set yet for the next meeting of the District 15 electoral board, which consists of board President Gerald Chapman, board member Tim Millar and board Secretary June Becker.