Link's petition contains 'obvious irregularities,' state's attorney says
State Sen. Terry Link's candidate petition contains "obvious irregularities" and is the focus of a criminal investigation, the Lake County state's attorney said Thursday.
The petition, which Link filed in October as part of his re-election bid, contains the names of dead people and area residents who've denied signing the form, State's Attorney Michael Waller said.
Additionally, some signatures on the sheets are in alphabetical order, Waller said.
"You usually don't run into people in alphabetical order," he said. "It looks suspicious."
Link, who's represented the 30th District since 1997, declined to comment.
"I'm not going to try the case in the media," said Link, a Waukegan resident who also leads the Lake County Democratic Party.
The investigation began several weeks ago and was prompted by multiple complaints, Waller said.
Link's petition has more than 3,400 signatures. Candidates in the race needed at least 1,000 signatures of registered voters living in the district to appear on the Feb. 5 primary ballot.
Link has said he did not circulate any of his candidate petition forms. Records indicate campaign workers did.
Among the people who've questioned the paperwork's veracity is former North Chicago mayor Jerry Johnson, who's challenging Link in the Democratic primary.
Johnson formally objected to Link's petition with the state elections board, too. The board is scheduled to discuss that matter today -- as well as an objection Link supporters filed against Johnson's candidate petition.
Johnson has publicly called for the state's attorney's office and elections board to investigate, and for Link to withdraw from the race.
Waller said his investigators are looking into allegations of forgery and violations of election code. They've spoken to several people whose names appear on the forms but denied signing them, Waller said.
Investigators also will look into whether a witness during a recent elections board hearing on the case committed perjury, Waller said.
The inquiry is in the early stages, Waller said. He called it a painstaking process.
"We're going to work as quickly as we can," he said.
Johnson said the investigation validates his complaints.
"This is about right and wrong … and ethics," Johnson said.
Most of the 30th District is in eastern Lake County, but it also includes a small part of northern Cook County.
No Republicans filed to appear on the primary ballot in the Senate race.