Fifth Ward alderman Scott McAdams is running for reelection in City of DeKalb’s Consolidated Election in the spring, and he’s faced challenges to his ballot nominating petitions. The city’s electoral board threw out the challenges in a 2-1 vote yesterday and, unless the challengers prevail in court, McAdams will remain on the ballot for the local election in April.
An issue I want to amplify is the electoral board’s acceptance of McAdams’ testimony over two pieces of physical evidence that contradict his statement that ballot petitions were properly secured when he submitted them to the city.
McAdams claims he submitted the petitions on a clipboard. (Whether a clipboard is an appropriate binding is a question we’ll leave for another day.) However, the Candidate’s Receipt indicates McAdams turned them in with no binding, and both he and the city’s election official signed off on this.mcadams-petition-receipt-2023
You can see the form has four checkbox options for noting the type of binding, including “other.” A clipboard clearly would have been “other.”
Next: a photograph of McAdams’ petitions. There’s no binding in evidence — and it’s unlikely the official(s) who accepted the petitions took them out of the binding. Why unlikely? The binding is part of the petition and stays with it.petition-photo
Now I’m going to take this point a bit further with the photo below. It’s Cohen Barnes’ (flawless) petitions to run for mayor in the last Consolidated Election, which I accepted as clerk in 2020. Notice that you can’t see all of the page. That’s because documenting the binding is the point. There is no other reason.
Disputes about bindings lead to petition challenges from time to time. It’s best practice to take a photo of the petitions exactly as they are presented by the candidate to the election official, and the binding (or lack thereof) is the thing.
In fact, it’s a serious thing. Having no binding violates a strict requirement of the Illinois Election Code.
Both the Candidate’s Receipt and the photograph of the petitions make for powerful evidence against McAdams’ testimony. The electoral board’s decision deserves a lot more coverage in this context than it’s gotten so far.