tldr: To get on the ballot in February I need notarized affidavits signed by at least 35 people verifying that they previously signed my petition sheets by Sunday at 5pm. If you know a notary who is available these next few nights and this weekend, point them my way. A volunteer notary would be great, but I can hire one as well. If you signed my petition, please look below for your address and contact me.
On Wednesday December 3rd my petition signatures were challenged by Reyahd Kazmi [pdf], presumably, a proxy of Mayor Emanuel and the incumbant Alderman Solis. On Tuesday the 9th I met the mayor’s attorney as he worked the case against me in front of a hearing officer. The hearing officer scheduled the petition review process for Friday and Saturday of last week.
Over the weekend we went through all 1027 signatures line by line. Many registered voters who signed my petition were denied the right to support my candidacy because the Board of Elections could not recognize their signature. This made verification of the fact that they were registered to vote difficult in some of the large residential buildings in the ward. Somewhat ironically, it’s the building my challenger lists as his residence that has the largest number of disenfranchised voters. Rest assured, this is all just part of the process.
There were 1027 signatures in total and 473 signatures required. As of now I have 438 signatures unchallenged or overruled by the city’s representatives (342/96). Additionally, there are 126 signatures that I’ve asked to review. These signatures were challenged by Kazmi and sustained by the city’s rep. The majority of these signatures were challenged and sustained because the addresses to which they belonged had tens or hundreds of residents and I had only 2 guesses to match their doctor-style signature to a voter registration card.
Now I need to find at least 35 of these ward residents who previously signed my petitions to sign an affidavit in front of a notary. The affidavit identifies these citizens as having signed my petition.
Accessing the ballot is a frustrating part of the Chicago political process that favors incumbants, but it fits neatly into a security economics framework that I’ll be writing about soon. In short, you can’t keep challengers off of the ballot but you can make getting on the ballot a difficult process that helps to ensure the job security of incumbents. To put Chicago’s process in perspective, with 500 signatures I could run for mayor of Los Angeles or Detroit. From the Tribune link:
Who likes Illinois' system? “The people who are already in power and have mastered the process… They know all these details, they’re experienced. Outsiders have the most trouble with it.”
Though one famous outsider managed to make it work to his advantage: A young community organizer named Barack Obama who, when making his first run for office in 1996, used petition challenges to knock all four of his rivals in a state Senate primary off the ballot, including the incumbent.
Right now I’m focused on collecting these 35 signatures before Sunday. Again, if you know a notary point them my way. It’s a lot easier to bring a notary to the people than it is to bring the people to a notary.
These are some of the addresses and counts of people who signed my petition sheet, but whose signatures were challenged by Kazmi and have not been recognized by the city’s representatives.