A County "Chicken Scratch" Challenge Begins

Board President candidates challenge each others petitions

By BJ Lutz and Mary Ann Ahern
|  Monday, Nov 9, 2009  |  Updated 6:16 PM CDT
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A County "Chicken Scratch" Challenge Begins

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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and one of his challengers are trying to throw each other off the ballot.

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Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and one of his challengers are trying to throw each other off the ballot.

Believing that some of Stroger's nomination petitions have problems, Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown on Monday mounted a formal challenge.

"It was just ridiculous. It was chicken scratch, it was scribble-scrabble. It didn't look well at all. It looked obviously fake and false," said Brown spokeswoman Lily Kim.

Kim said their review of Stroger's petitions turned up "flagrant" violations, including invalid or false addresses, false names and names that didn't match addresses.

"Maybe two were actually real or authentic, and there about 20 signatures on each petition," she said.

Despite the challenge, Stroger said he was "very confident" his name would remain on the ballot.

"Your opponents try to knock you off.  That's part of politics," he said earlier in the day. 

Hours later, and just prior to deadline, a representative of the Stroger camp also filed a grievance against Brown's petitions.

Dena Townsend said her ability to comment publicly was limited, but said she believes there are enough violations on Brown's petitions to get her knocked off the ballot.

"We've been looking at them for a while," Townsend said.

State Sen. Rickey Hendon believes Stroger had difficulty getting signatures. Candidates traditionally file three times the number of names needed as a measure of insurance. Stroger did not.

"We brought in 22,000 good signatures, and we didn't fool around with having anyone pass out petitions except for the people that we knew were going to go door-to-door and ask people for good signatures," Stroger said earlier in the day.

The hearing process for the challenges begins next Monday and may take up to two weeks to resolve. 

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