I would like to publicly thank McLean County Clerk Peggy Ann Milton and her staff for the extra work they put in, on short notice, compiling and providing the records necessary to respond to objections against Green Party petitions to put Rich Whitney on the ballot for governor of Illinois. Although the Green Party submitted 39,000 signatures - well over the 25,000 required of a "new" political party - more than half of the signatures were alleged to be invalid.
County clerks around the state had to look up each signer/voter, copy the relevant records and send them to Springfield. There, clerks at the State Board of Elections took time from their work to rule on each objection, using the records sent in.
Some objections were sustained because people signed the petition who were not registered, put down a newer address from where they were registered or signed in such a rush that the handwriting was not clear enough to find a record.
But as the clerks examined the evidence, it became clear that the challengers had not done their homework: The vast majority of the 39,000 signatures were accepted.
Resisting any change in the political status quo, the established parties use their right to object to petitions. But most of the time-consuming work was left to county and state employees. Those of us participating in the process were moved by their hard work and commitment to fairness and democratic principles. We citizens of Illinois owe them our gratitude.