Woman files lawsuit to reverse removal of township abolition question from ballot

A woman who collected signatures on a petition that sought to ask Algonquin Township voters this spring whether the local township government should be abolished filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to reverse the question's removal from the ballot.

The Algonquin Township electoral board this month upheld an objection to the petition and voted unanimously to take the question off the April 6 ballot.

The electoral board sided with Randy Funk, who is running for the Algonquin Township supervisor seat, on his objection. It claimed that of the 533 voter signatures gathered by petition circulators, 193 were suspected to be invalid.

The petition needed at least 445 signatures to send the ballot question to voters. The Algonquin Township clerk's office and McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio certified the petition when signature collectors first turned in their effort, but the electoral board stopped the question from heading to voters, for now.

Melissa Sanchez-Fischer, one of the petitioners, is seeking to overturn the electoral board's decision with a legal action naming Tirio, Funk and the Algonquin Township electoral board members as defendants.

The electoral board consists of Algonquin Township Supervisor Chuck Lutzow, Clerk Karen Lukasik and Trustee Daniel Shea.

Sanchez-Fischer's complaint, filed in McHenry County Circuit Court, alleges the board did not follow the Open Meetings Act by voting to remove the question from the ballot last week because the meeting's agenda did not indicate any board action would be taken.

It also claims Funk's objection did not lay out specifically which signatures collected by the petitioners were allegedly invalid.

"The approach used in this case by Funk, by failing to specify which of the signatures were being objected to, within his petition, caused a shift in the burden from Funk to the individuals seeking the question to be placed on the ballot," the complaint states.

The electoral board had voted to allow Funk to submit the list of questioned signatures after he had filed his formal objection.

Funk said he is not worried about the facts of the case. He contended 105 signatures did not match voter registration autographs and another 88 signers didn't live in Algonquin Township and therefore cannot be used to certify the ballot question.

Funk is confident the electoral board made the right decision, but did not guarantee vindication in court.

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