Illinois: Green Dan Kairis Defeats Democratic Party Machine

Posted at Green Party Watch by Ronald Hardy:

Sent in today (Dan Kairis website)

Dan Kairis, long-time resident of South Elgin, IL and Green Party candidate for the 14th Congressional District, defeated the Democratic Party’s attempt to remove him from the February 2, 2010 primary election ballot. Kairis was represented by Andy Finko, an attorney who helped a number of other Green Party candidates during the ballot challenge process.

The objections were filed in the name of Jean Cattron, an Elgin Democratic Precinct committeeperson, though Ms. Cattron did not appear at any electoral board proceedings. Despite Cattron’s absence from the process, her attorney claimed that she swore, under oath, that a number of Kairis’ signatures were either not genuine or had other deficiencies.

A binder check, in which petition signatures are checked with voter registration cards, was the deciding factor in Kairis’ victory. Of the signatures that Cattron claimed were deficient, twenty objections were overturned, including the objections to the signatures of Kairis’ son, brother and mother. Although Kairis had more than enough signatures, his attorney, Andy Finko, filed a brief and affidavits that would have overturned an additional seven objections in the event that Cattron’s attorney escalated the challenge to an evidentiary hearing. In all, Kairis obtained sixteen affidavits from people who signed his nominating petitions, confirming that they were in fact the actual people that signed the original documents.

“I don’t think most people realize how often these objection petitions are filed, or that they are purely tools of established parties to restrict ballot access. Illinois voters should also be outraged at the amount of taxpayer dollars that are spent on these often frivolous and politically motivated challenges,”said Kairis.

Under current election laws in Illinois, an objector can object to any signature without providing documentation or proof for the objections. There is no penalty (or cost) for filing challenges, but the subsequent binder checks and hearings are paid for by Illinois taxpayers. “The election code in Illinois needs to be drastically reformed. This is nothing more than a way for incumbents to maintain their power while draining the resources of potential challengers”, said Kairis. Illinois taxpayers pay for the overtime for the Electoral Board employees along with the private attorneys who serve as hearing officers. Finko was confident that Kairis would remain on the ballot when Michael Kasper, lead attorney for the Democrats failed to file any objections to the binder check within the 48 hours after it was completed basically conceding the results.

The recommendation of the hearing officer, David Hermann, a private attorney from Springfield, IL, which stated: “Candidate’s name should be placed on the ballot…” will be presented for adoption by the full Electoral Board. That date has yet to be determined.

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